Visual Arts Camp

2021 Summer in the Arts Camps Update

We are thrilled to announce that we will be holding Summer in the Arts Camps in 2021. Due to the quickly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot state at this time whether these camps will be in-person or online. We will post an update on the camps and open registration for them in early 2021!

Get the latest campus updates related to COVID-19.

July 18-23, 2021 Grades 8-12 (grade completion)

About Visual Arts Camp

If you're excited about art, we invite you to challenge yourself in a variety of art media at our Visual Arts Camp. You'll experiment with new materials and techniques while producing portfolio-quality work.

You'll also benefit from:

  • Group art and recreation activities.
  • Performance art presentations.
  • Presentations by nationally known artists, art historians and studio artists.

You'll stay in Gilbert Hall during camp. Your experience will end with an art show open to your friends and family.

For more information check out these resources:

Thank you to Prismacolor, the sponsor of Visual Arts Camp.

What to Bring to Art Camp

  • Comfortable/sturdy walking shoes or sandals
    • Note: Flip flops should only be used in the residence hall.
  • Umbrella or rain gear
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sweatshirt
  • Alarm clock
  • Water bottle
  • Sheets and pillowcase (standard twin size)
  • Towels, blanket, pillow
  • Small amount of money for souvenirs and snacks
  • Old clothes for studio work


You'll attend two studio classes each day. When you register, you'll indicate your choices for classes. The class content changes every year, providing new experiences for both new and returning students. There is limited space in each class, and classes with insufficient enrollment may be cancelled.

In addition to studio classes, you'll enjoy presentations by accomplished guest speakers as they share their career paths in the visual arts. You will recieve your studio assignments at camp check-in.

  • Drawing Realism - Becki Miller Using traditional drawing materials, campers create realistic drawings that address both composition and concept. Techniques are explored that allow artists to render images expressively, using mark making, visual texture, and subtle gradations.
  • Mixed Media - Lisa Doll Experiment with mixed media in collage form combining found object materials with traditional painting and drawing techniques.
  • Dreaming and Drawing in Color - Elizabeth Woodyatt Students explore unexpected and inventive use of color in drawing. Students learn to build visually powerful surfaces using color in a representational or non-traditional way. Using oil pastel and colored pencil, works are created to reflect the artist’s personal ideas.
  • Acrylic Painting - Tim Roloff Learn traditional and expressive acrylic painting techniques to create dynamic and dramatic imagery.
  • Life Drawing – Frank Matas Students will learn to draw the human figure while being introduced to college-level life drawing concepts and techniques. A variety of materials will be used while working from a live model.
  • Sketchbook Reimagined - John Zilewicz Benefits of a daily sketchbook practice include quick thinking, responsive drawing, sensitivity to visual stimuli and immediacy of response. Students will focus on idea development and experimentation within a sketchbook format. Using collage, drawing, painting and mixed media processes, students will concentrate on producing imagery reflecting their own personal voice.
  • Painting with Pastel Students will be introduced to the responsive and subtle surfaces created by pastel. Using artist quality hard and soft pastels, this class will explore developing transitional layers of color to build smooth surfaces as well as expressive mark-making. Imagery options will include portraiture and still-life. 
  • Printmaking Students explore a variety of printmaking experiences and develop a series of prints in the NIU printmaking studio.
  • Acrylic Painting - Courtney Haugdahl Learning traditional and expressive acrylic painting techniques, students will create dynamic and dramatic paintings that reflect technical excellence.
  • Experimental Drawing Studies - Bjana Lunde Using a variety of colored pencil techniques including expressive mark-making, students will use observation skills to create drawings that record visual information in new ways.
  • Figure Sculpting - April Macatangay Students will learn accurate human proportions and how to sculpt the human form with modeling clay. This class includes experimenting with sculpting muscle structures, clothing, textures, and different postures to create figures that show depth and narrative.
  • Portraits in Acrylic – Janell Matas Students explore portraiture through observation and experimentation using acrylic paint to create works that reflect personal content.
  • Metalwork/Digital Fabrication - Gretchen Schreiber Using 3D printing technology and sand casting, students will design and fabricate a cast bronze ring. Students will learn digital design using 3D modeling software and learn to fabricate metal using the sand casting process and other traditional metalsmithing techniques. (Class size limited to 12)
  • Experimenting with Abstraction  Students will focus on experimentation with materials and techniques as they work towards building conceptual imagery and surfaces that reflect atmosphere, emotion, and personal narratives.

In the evening, you'll have the opportunity to join fellow young artists in a variety of art-making activities, such as:

  • Portfolio embellishment.
  • Campus art scavenger hunt.
  • Group sculpture building.
  • Performance art.

You can also work on art projects in the evening during open studio sessions.


Early bird registration fee: $600 (postmarked June 1 or earlier)
Registration fee: $650
Art supply fee: $55 (mandatory)

Returning camper and family discount: $25 (for campers who have previously attended Visual Arts Camp, and the children and grandchildren of NIU students, staff and faculty members)

Camp fills quickly, so register early! You can register online or by mail. You'll pay a $100 deposit when you register (unless applying for a summer camp scholarship). The remaining balance is due on June 15.

Camp Staff

Our Visual Arts Camp staff is composed of talented NIU faculty and students, alumni, guest artists and area teachers. The ratio of campers to staff members is about 12:1. Staff members are assigned to each residence hall floor and accompany campers to all meals and activities.

Lynn Stockton (camp director)

Lynn Stockton has been a high school art teacher for 30 years. She is a Nationally Board-Certified Teacher. In 2008, she was recognized by the Illinois Art Education Association as the Secondary Art Teacher of the Year. Her students have won numerous awards and scholarships at the local, state, and national levels. She has helped to facilitate and restructure the visual art programs of two Illinois school districts and was instrumental in the addition of Advanced Placement Studio Art as an option for high school students in those districts. In June 2011 she was appointed to the National Prismacolor Advisory Council. She is currently teaching at Rockford Jefferson High School where she heads the largest advanced placement studio art program in northern Illinois. Ms. Stockton has been the director of the Visual Arts Camp since 2001.

Ailysh Cooper (counselor)

Ailysh grew up in Oswego, IL and attended this art camp for four years leading up to college, when she began attending NIU. Ailysh is finishing her degree in Art and Design Education and is currently student teaching junior high.

Lisa Doll (mixed media)

Lisa earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from NIU; her undergraduate major was in art education and her graduate specialization was in outdoor education. She has taught art at several Rockford public schools since 1993 and is currently teaching at Guilford High School. Her students have shown their artwork at a variety of shows, including the Rockford Art Museum Youth Show and Rock Valley College High School Art Show. She has taught at the Visual Arts Camp for several years.

Sarah Greer (counselor)

Sarah Greer is currently student teaching in Rockford to finish her K-12 art education teaching license. She holds a BA in Art History and is currently finishing her MS in Art Education. Sarah has previously taught in China and studied in Indonesia. Sarah is also a former camper; this is her second year as a camp counselor.

Courtney Haugdahl (acrylic painting)

Courtney Haugdahl is an art education student at Northern Illinois University, an honors student, and a member of the honor society, Phi Kappa Phi. Courtney's favorite art medium is painting, and she enjoys reading and making art in her spare time. Art has been a way for Courtney to challenge herself inside and outside the classroom and she hopes to always continue to learn more about it beyond school. She has worked at the Visual Arts Camp for several years.

Bjana Lunda (experimental drawing studies)

Bjana Lunde received her bachelor's degree from NIU in 2005, where she majored in art education. She is teaching ceramics and sculpture at Harry D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin. She was on the dean's list during her undergraduate career at NIU and has been involved with the Visual Arts Camp for many years.

April Macantagay (figure sculpting)

April Macatangay received her bachelor's degree in art education from NIU in 2005 and earned her bachelor's degree in fine arts from NIU in 2007. She has been an artist-in-residence in Poland, as well as the Philippines, where she learned to make traditional clothing from pineapple fiber. Her work has been exhibited widely and she currently teaches in the Chicagoland area. April has worked with the Visual Arts Camp for several years.

Frank Matas (life drawing)

Frank has a master's degree in painting from NIU and has been an art teacher at Lake Park High School in Roselle since 1998, where he teaches drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture and AP studio. He has been involved in NIU the Visual Arts Camp since 1995.

Becki Miller (drawing realism)

Becki Miller is currently a local and freelance artist. She has long-term plans for a career in art education. She has been involved in the camp since 1998 as a camper and became a counselor in 2002.

Janell Reamer Matas (portraits in acrylic)

Janell has a master's degree in sculpture as well a bachelor’s degree in art education with an emphasis in painting from NIU. She has been an art teacher at Naperville North High School since 2002, where she teaches AP art history, drawing and painting. She has been involved in the NIU Visual Arts Camp since 1997.

Timothy Roloff (acrylic painting)

Tim Roloff graduated from NIU in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in art education. He has been teaching art at Woodstock North High School for the past 2 years. Tim has been a counselor at Art Camp since 2014.

Gretchen Schreiber (metalwork / digital fabrication)

Gretchen Schreiber received her B.F.A. in metalsmithing in 2012 from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and is currently pursuing dual master's degrees at NIU in digital fabrication and metalsmithing and art education. Gretchen's work is research based three-dimensional art, focusing on female identity construction and systems of power. She was a camper in 2004 and this is her first year as a camp counselor.

Elizabeth Woodyatt (dreaming and drawing in color)

Elizabeth Woodyatt earned her bachelor's degree in fine arts and art education from the University of Illinois and her master's degree in art education from NIU. She has taught art to children in the elementary grades through high school in the Rockford area since 2001 and most recently moved to Knoxville, TN with her family. She is currently teaching high school art and art history at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, TN. She also creates, exhibits, and sells her own artwork. She has taught at the Visual Arts Camp for several years.

John Zilewicz (sketchbook reimagined)

John Zilewicz is an artist and educator in the Chicago area. He has a MA in Painting and Drawing and holds a BA in Two-Dimensional Studio Art. With over 20 years of teaching experience, Zilewicz is an instructor with an entertaining style of teaching art and he brings thoughtful and colorful enthusiasm to the classroom discussion. He currently teaches AP and Advanced Studio level courses at Niles West High School where he's been at since 2006. Each year, his students are recognized at local, state and national competitions for their excellence in the visual arts. Zilewicz himself was recognized for his contributions to art education and received the Illinois Secondary Art Educator of the Year Award in 2016. He is also the Creator of the Illinois High School Art Exhibition (IHSAE), an exhibition program that has gained national recognition around the country from top art schools, colleges and universities. He currently serves as the organizations Executive Director. In his personal artistic practice, Zilewicz explores several different themes, but mark-making, intuitive painting and found object assemblage are among his favorites. Zilewicz works from his home studio in Arlington Heights. He exhibits his artwork regularly and has been featured in various exhibitions and local galleries.

Schedule Overview

A general overview of the camp schedule is below or view the full 2019 camp schedule. You'll also receive a schedule when you check in.

Date and Time Activity Location

Sunday, July 19
1:45-3 p.m.


First, take your luggage to Gilbert Hall. Next, go to the nearby Music Building to pick up camp materials. Free parking is available in front of Gilbert Hall and in the lot south of the Music Building.

Sunday, July 19
3:15 p.m.


Boutell Memorial Concert Hall (Music Building)

Parents are welcome at this orientation session with the camp director and staff.

Sunday, July 19, to Friday, July 24

Camp activities

Jack Arends Hall

Friday, July 24
5 p.m.

Closing ceremony/art show

Jack Arends Hall

After the show, pick up your luggage from Gilbert Hall.

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs

Music Building 132

Kristin Sherman

Online Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(lunch from noon – 1 p.m.)

To protect the safety of our staff, students and families, we will operate remotely for the fall semester. Our staff will be available at their remote offices during normal NIU business hours and can be contacted via phone or email.

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