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Cultivating creativity

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Six-year-old Ben Leslie learns how to use frosting tools to decorate a flower-themed cupcake.

NEW ULM — This week area art students were able to flex their creative muscles at The Grand Center for the Arts and Culture as part of the Creativity Day Camps.

The Creativity Day Camps provide a chance for kindergarten through seventh-graders to learn artistic styles with different activities including ceramics, wood sculpture, painting, drawing, screen printing and even food art.

Wednesday morning the kindergarten through third-graders learned how to decorate cupcakes with different frosting tools. Instructor Rhonda Johnson showed students how to decorate a cupcake to resemble a flower, a panda and a monkey.

The students started with a simple flower design before moving to the panda and monkey, which required different frosting tools and the application of Oreo cookie ears.

One of the tricks to frosting a cupcake is to keep the frosting tool in the same position and rotate the cupcake as needed.

Johnson explained to students that getting the correct color frosting can be a challenge. Mixing the right food dyes to get the desired color can be a challenge.

“They were very excited to learn they would be decorating cupcakes today,” Johnson said. Most of the students had never worked with frosting before. It was an unusual experience, but the students handled it well.

“The idea is to give the students unique experiences,” Johnson said.

In The Grand Cellar, the fourth through seventh-graders learned how to make glass etchings from Ed Fornberg. The students started by drawing a stencil to go over the glass. Then using a razor they were able to etch the image on the glass before coating it with a special glass etching compound.

Glass etching is a time-intensive project. Many of the older students struggled with the stencil phase, but it left them with an appreciation for the work.

Once again, this was a type of art few students had ever tried.

“That’s what art is all about,” Fornberg said. “It is exploring. You might not like everything you try, but it is not all about the destination, it is the journey.”

The Creativity Day Camps will continue through Thursday. Another session will be held from August 2 through August 5.

An International Language Camp will also be held at the Grand July 12-15. Activities include games, songs, crafts, culture lessons and instruction in different languages including French, Spanish, German and Chinese.

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