Bootz Culture Camp – Traveling the World through Art
By Krista Martinelli
Bootz Culture Camp has an original idea – you enter the workshop, receive a passport and immerse yourself in artwork from a different part of the world. Each time you visit Bootz Culture Camp, you will travel to a new place through art. Jeanne Bootz makes it an all-encompassing experience by playing music, playing games, watching short videos, looking at pictures and sometimes having food related to the destination at hand.
There are a couple of things that make Bootz Culture Camp different from any art workshop around – the travel theme and also that, as Jeanne explains, “Whatever souvenir you’re making is truly an expression of your own.” So instead of following a teacher’s lead and doing step-by-step painting, you are creating your own work of art, using a technique that is introduced to you. “It’s not a paint-by-numbers method. Part of art is making your own choices.”
“I wanted to open my own teaching studio for a long time,” says Bootz. “I thought the travel theme fit very well because art can take us to places we’ve never been before.” Going to Bootz Culture Camp for a two-hour class is like going on a little trip across the world and being totally engaged in that culture. Plus you always have a souvenir to take home with you.
At Bootz, they use a variety of materials to create art souvenirs. They do a lot of acrylic and watercolor painting. They also do polymer clay sculpting, collage and mixed media projects. It just depends upon the country at hand and what their traditions are.
Bootz Culture Camp is new; it just opened in January of 2014. Jeanne Bootz has been teaching art in various school settings for the past twenty years. She’s taught all ages, after school workshops, at public schools and private schools. From this experience, she has honed in on exactly how she wants to teach art.
One of the things that differ from a school setting is having a longer time to be able to focus on an activity. At Bootz Culture Camp, there’s time for an in-depth study and time for reflection. “We tap into their creativity in a new way and bring an understanding of various cultures,” says Bootz.
When it comes to parties, Bootz Culture Camp offers many different fun options. There are Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, underwater creatures and other art-inspired parties. Bootz’ favorite party is based on the book “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds, a book about creativity. Also, whether it be princesses or dinosaurs or another place or time, “you are welcome to create your own theme,” says Bootz.
Bootz also offers “Adult Art Adventures,” where grown ups are encourage to come paint and bring their own wine and appetizers, if they would like.
One of the most rewarding comments Jeanne Bootz hears from her art students is, “Can I come back?” She gets this often. Another one of the intangible rewards is seeing children gain an understanding of another culture that’s very different from their own.
For example, she embarked on a Maori art day, showing the children the tattooed faces of Maori people at the beginning of the class. Most of the kids did not like seeing tattoos directly on people’s faces and commented negatively at first. After spending some time creating their own tattoos and learning about symmetry, they changed their tune. By the end of the class, when the kids were shown the Maori faces again, they truly appreciated the art of these tattoos. “It’s rewarding to see the change,” says Bootz.
Another rewarding aspect of focusing on culture is finding that their artwork is being noticed around the world. After posting photos of Koru art they created on Facebook, Bootz noticed that the National Park Service of the PacificIslands was now following them on Facebook. “It’s interesting because as we take our virtual trips around the world, the world is reacting to what we do.”
It’s hard to choose, but Jeanne Bootz says that her favorite place they have traveled to via artwork so far has been Southeast Asia. She does a lot of research to totally immerse her students in the destination of choice and truly enjoys traveling in this virtual way.
As far as Jeanne Bootz’ roots, her father’s parents came from Germany and her mother’s grandparents came from Sweden. Her father spoke German in his home while growing up. When her parents were first married, father was stationed in Germany and worked on military intelligence. Her parents traveled all around Europe, bringing back artifacts and art. Bootz gained an appreciation for art and culture from her parents and from the things they brought back from their travels.
Art runs in the family, as Jeanne has three brothers who are all very talented as artists. Meanwhile, her son just moved to Japan for a teaching job. Her daughter is very accomplished in art and went on a paid trip to Turkey, along with her high school art teacher, thanks to her art work. She’s now at LeslieUniversity and Art Institute of Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Special classes at Bootz Culture Camp
Open Studio – usually takes place the 3rd Wednesday of the month. No instruction, but please bring your own piece of artwork to work on. Please register in advance.
Artist’s Way Group – takes place Wed. nights, designed for people with “blocked creativity.” Based on the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron.
Family Artist’s Trading Card Night – the 3rd Tuesday of the month, open to all ages. Bring the whole family!
Adult Art Adventures – usually takes place on Saturday nights. A great date night idea. Bring your own wine and food.
Soon to come – art classes taught in Spanish by the local artist and author Sandra Barbieri, a Wellington Art Society member.
Parties – just call Bootz Culture Camp to make reservations.
To find Bootz Culture Camp, go to the new location of Toys R Us along 441 in Wellington and just go to the office park North of it, in the same parking lot. See our “AW Coupon” this month for a Buy One, Get One FREE class at Bootz Culture Camp! Another way to get a free class at Bootz? Get your passport stamped each time you visit and when your passport is full, you get a FREE class!
Another “VIP Travel tip” – Go to the website www.bootzculturecamp.com and sign up for the email newsletter to receive special offers.
Parents! Check out the Little Elf Workshop event happening at Bootz Culture Camp on Friday, Nov. 28th and get your black Friday shopping done while the kids have fun!
Bootz Culture Camp
420 South State Rd. 7, Suite 120
Royal Palm Beach, FL