Art & Culture

Graffiti art classes kick off Arts Council’s Summer Art Camps

The next workshop will feature clay-making and will take place from July 18-20

The San Benito County Arts Council held a Graffiti Art Camp on July 11- July 13, kicking off the first workshop in the Summer Art Camp series.  The program, which takes place July 11- Aug. 3 at the council's "second space" in downtown Hollister, features a series of four, three-day workshops with including ceramics and photography. Each workshop has two sessions running from 10 a.m. to noon for 5- to 7-year-olds and 1 to 3 p.m. for 8- to 13-year-olds.

Program director Amanda Chiado said, “This specific camp is part of a four-part series that we’re doing this summer. In subsequent weeks we’ll be working with other types of artwork such as paper mache, photography and clay making.”

Taught by professional teaching artist Stephanie Skow and assistant Ana Newman, students have the opportunity to learn about different artistic techniques in a fun, creative environment.

Skow, who works with the San Benito County Arts Council year-round to develop classes and workshops for the community, focuses on enriching students knowledge with a variety of different artistic styles, media and techniques.

“Talking with Jennifer and Amanda, trying to figure out what are we going to do this year that’s different from what we did last year, this is the third summer we’re doing it,” she said. “I think we run a really good program here. I try to make it really structured for them where they’re not just coming in and doing art, but they're learning how to do art. Learning the fundamentals of it, the elements of art, the principals of art and then learning how to do that themselves and incorporate it into their drawings and pieces of art."

For the remainder of the summer, students will have the opportunity to learn how to make their own ceramic pieces from start to finish, learn photography skills, and build stylized paper mache masks. 

“We came up with graffiti because we thought it would be fun for the kids to do and teaching them about it, what’s legal, what's not legal kind of thing and then we did ceramics camp before so we’re like ‘lets do one that kids can find ingredients at home and make it themselves.’ I’m a photographer as well, so I thought ‘why not teach a basic intro to photography.’  We’re going to do it on their iPads or iPhones because most kids these days they have those kinds of electronics. So why not teach them how to frame it in shot, how to look for the lighting, how to do all that kind of stuff,” said Skow, who is working on designing a utility box for the Hollister Utility Box Mural Project. Her box, located on the corner of Nash and San Benito streets, will feature San Benito County's wine scene.

Classes are held in the Arts Council second space, located on 217 Fifth St., on the corner of Nash and San Benito streets across from the Arts Council's current ARTspace.

Arts Council Executive Director Jennifer Laine told BenitoLink, “We are doing a soft opening with the art camps this summer but will do a more official launch in September.”

The council hopes to continue the Summer Art Camp next year. “We would love to continue on and we’re always seeking the support from the community to figure out what are the needs in the community and we’re excited to potentially develop this graffiti camp further,” Chiado said. 

Registration is $45 per student and includes materials and snacks. There is also $10 sibling discount and scholarships available for those who qualify.

For more information, visit or sign up online at

Laura Romero

Laura Romero has been a reporter and handled marketing/social media for BenitoLink. She has covered education and city government. Formerly, she worked as an assistant account executive at Pembroke PR in San Francisco, where she assisted with press outreach, event coordination, and social media planning. With her PR skills, she has helped to implement social media strategies and develop online giving campaigns for BenitoLink. Laura continues to contribute to BenitoLink on a freelance basis.