Key West Art & Historical Society’s Mario Sanchez ArtCamp! to offer children chance to learn famed folk artist’s methods
Key West Art & Historical Society’s ArtCamp!, a summer program for children aged 6-12, continues at Fort East Martello through August 9 with weekly themed sessions designed to get children thinking, moving, and making. Next up is Mario Sanchez Camp (July 29-August 2) led by Crystal Smith and Jennifer Hernandez. Campers will learn about the self-taught Cuban-American folk artist and explore their own creations to emulate Sanchez’s process of sketching on brown paper bags to guide the layout of his famed bas-relief woodcarvings.
Born in 1908 in Key West’s Gatoville cigar-making neighborhood, Sanchez began working artistically in 1930, creating upwards of 600 paintings and woodcarvings in his lifetime. He was presented with the Florida Folk Heritage Award by the Florida Secretary of State and the Florida Folklife Council in 1985 and is considered one of the nation’s greatest folk artists. His work is known for capturing recognizable characters amid the simple life and activities he remembered as a child—flying kites, spinning tops, parades, and passing the time rocking on front porches—and reveal an important and colorful doorway to the cultural history of the island and its people.
After a field trip to the Custom House Museum and the Gallery on Greene, home to many Sanchez carvings and sketches, ArtCamp! campers will have the opportunity to depict their Key West memories on brown paper bags.
The camp, in operation for more than thirty years, marks Key West Art & Historical Society’s commitment to youth programming and educational initiatives that aim to inspire a greater sense of place and historical understanding about our island home.
ArtCamp! runs from 9:00AM to 4:00PM, Monday – Friday and is $200 per session for Society members, $225 for nonmembers. Included are all supplies and light snacks. Detailed descriptions of the ArtCamp! sessions along with registration information can be found at kwahs.org/events or call Kim Livingston at 305-295-6616, extension 106. Registration fills quickly. Your museums. Your community. It takes an island.
IMAGE: Children attending Mario Sanchez ArtCamp! July 29-August 2 will learn about the beloved folk artist and have the opportunity to experiment with Sanchez’ method of creating pencil drawings on brown paper bags – like this “Funeral Passing by Lighthouse” example - to advance prepare for his woodcarving projects. (Image courtesy KWAHS)