An Interview with Tammy Key: Art in the Summer

May 31, 2013 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy

1) Tammy, first of all, can you tell us about yourself and what you are currently doing?

I am currently overseeing several education programs for ArtCenter/ South Florida. We offer year-round art classes for adults through our Art Studiesprogram, we offer art & literacy programming through the StoryArts! program at two of the Miami Dade County Library branches (Shenandoah & International Mall), and we offer classes to passengers on two of Celebrity Cruise Line’s vessels (Reflection & Silhouette) through their onboard Art Studio. I am also currently getting ready for our summer art camp for children age 6-12 and am developing a new outreach program called Creative Care that will be offered starting in the fall at Miami Children’s Hospital. I have been with ArtCenter/ South Florida since 2001 and am a graduate of Florida State University. Prior to the ArtCenter, I worked for a Hologram Studio that created large format images for artists including Chuck Close and Ed Ruscha.

2) Now, could you discuss the importance of art camps during the summer months?

Art Camp provides a wonderful opportunity for children to experiment with different artistic mediums and to go beyond the lessons they receive during the school year. It is also a great opportunity for children to make new friends, express themselves and build self confidence in a supportive environment.

3) What about art at home- how can parents encourage water colors, or pastels or whatever?

Designate a creative area at home. Stock up on a variety of inexpensive art materials and make sure to include an area to display finished works.  Provide a variety of mediums; clay, watercolor, markers, etc. Some children may prefer sculpture over drawing or painting. Providing several options will allow parents to see what interests their child most. There are many wonderful projects that can be found on the internet and many that also utilize recycled materials.

4) I know Florida has many art museums, as I have been to the Salvadore Dali museum. But can you discuss some others?

The Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami is wonderful along with the Frost Museum at FIU. Other great museums in the area are; The Bass Museum in Miami Beach, The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami and The Miami Art Museum in Downtown Miami.

5) Could you give some examples of elementary art activities, middle school and then high school? Are you looking for projects that parents can do at home?

For Elementary age children a simple and fun project is to have them lie down on a large piece of butcher paper and trace their outline and then have them draw and/or paint in their clothes and features. For middle school a textile project can be fun. We are creating Hula Hoop rugs during one of our summer camp sessions. For high school you can’t go wrong with digital photography and creating books on sites like or

6)  Are there any good books that you would recommend?

I like 60 Art Projects for Children: Painting, Clay, Puppets, Prints, Masks, and More by Jeannet Baumgardner. Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media-For Budding Artists of All Ages by Susan Schwake.

7) In terms of summer art camps, what do parents need to be wary about?

Visit the facility where the camp will be prior to enrolling. Is it safe and secure? Make sure to ask about the teaching staff. Has the organization done background checks on all staff members?  What is the student teacher ratio? If the camp accepts large numbers of children but has a small staff a younger or more timid child may not be comfortable attending. A smaller teacher/student ratio also means a decreased likelihood in bullying incidents or discipline problems.

8) Do you have a web site or some other web sites to help educate parents about art during the summer months?

Web sites that sell art supplies often have areas where they list lesson plans.

Some example are,

Another great resource for children’s art projects is

I also love the Eric Carle website-

9) What have I neglected to ask ? I think you have covered everything.

You have covered everything.

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