Fox Art School inspires creativity through puppetry and fashion-themed summer camps

When Sarah Fox began Fox Art School in 2010, she wanted to fill what she saw as a hole in the arts community. "I have a background in art education and I was really missing it," says Fox, who at that point had taken some time off from teaching art -- which she had been doing in Colorado and Oklahoma since 1995. "I started to look around at what different art opportunities there were for kids in Denver, and seeing if there was something that would be a good fit for me -- and I was really surprised."

The surprise was the lack of immersive arts programs geared towards school-age children. That inspired Fox, herself an artist who also works in advertising, to create Fox Art School, a small effort involving a partnership with Space Gallery, which houses the one-of-a-kind, week-long seasonal camps.

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Fox recognized that the Art Students League of Denver, Denver Art Museum and a handful of other groups and organizations around the city had creative programs for kids -- but on a much larger scale. With Fox Art School, she set out to offer more intimate programming, hoping to enrich local kids' experience with art while positively impacting the city in the process.

"I researched some other cities...Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco, and I really felt like Denver was lacking," Fox says. "So I started my school and I do feel very strongly that Denver has the initiative right now to push creativity. Creativity makes vibrant communities, it makes businesses want to come here -- it just makes it a better place to live."

Fox Art School's week-long programs target kids ages four to twelve; each session has a unique theme or area of artistic study, from concrete concepts like printmaking and kite-creating to more thematic camps like art of Native America and mystery week. The limited class sizes and five-day intensive schedule guarantee that kids will come home with plenty of work to show.

"I try to come up with something fun and that will catch a kid's attention -- fun subject matters. I've had a superhero theme in the past, and creature and animal themes," says Fox. "Then I look for a topic that I can find a lot of ideas in, so I can create a good sculpture project and a painting to do that week. That way, we can pick a topic that has some legs, basically."

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The location, an operating gallery space, was also key to the Fox Art School vision. "My school is in the art gallery, and I think galleries can be intimidating for people," says Fox. "You go in and it's silent -- you feel like you're interrupting their day. I say this and still work in galleries. [Laughs.] But I think it is a cool aspect of the school -- bringing the kids into galleries. They get to have an art opening where they have little glasses of sparkling cider and an artist's name tag, so they get to feel like real artists. Which they are."

Fox Art School is located in the Space Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive. The summer camp schedule begins in June, and registration is now open for the weekly camps. For more information, visit the Fox Art School's website.

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