Visual Arts Camp Online

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

About Visual Arts Camp Online

This summer, join us for NIU Visual Arts Camp online!

  • Art supplies will be delivered to your house and
  • Camp will feature asynchronous online learning format providing a hands-on artist experience from the safety of home.
  • Studio experiences will be offered to current high school students with morning and afternoon course selections taught by experienced NIU camp staff.
  • The coursework reflects exposure to new media and methods as well as a strong focus on artistic inquiry and visual expression.
  • Foundational design and drawing skills will be emphasized in all sessions.
  • All campers will receive a camp T-shirt!

Evening workshops will include presentations on portfolio preparation for college admissions and scholarship opportunities, guest lectures by NIU faculty and alumni, sketchbook development and open studio/critique sessions with staff and peers.

Required Materials

  • All art materials will be mailed to the student's home address prior to the start of camp.
  • Campers will need access to the internet and a computer, tablet or laptop with both camera and microphone capability.
  • Camp content will be delivered via Zoom, an online video-conferencing platform.
  • Zoom training will be provided on the first day of camp.
  • Campers will also need a quiet, art-friendly space in which to work for classes and studio sessions.


Art campers will attend two virtual studio classes each day. When registering, you will indicate your choices for classes. The class content changes every year, providing new experiences for both new and returning students.  Class space is limited and classes with insufficient enrollment may be canceled.

In addition to studio classes, campers will enjoy presentations by accomplished guest speakers as they share their career paths in the visual arts. Studio assignments will be confirmed prior to camp with supplies selected and delivered for specific courses.

  • Drawing Realism with 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.
  • Acrylic Portrait Painting with Tim Roloff:  Students will learn traditional acrylic painting techniques while creating a self-portrait that captures personal and expressive emotion. Students will gain a better understanding of facial proportions and experiment with color mixing.
  • Experimental Drawing and Painting with Ailysh Cooper: Using a variety of materials, campers will make their mark in creative ways by composing multiple artworks that focus on experimentation, symbolism, and observational drawing skills.  Campers will also focus on creating engaging compositions and adding mindfulness to their artistic practice.
  • Dreaming and Drawing in Color with Elizabeth Woodyatt and Lisa Doll: 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, 
  • Altered Portraits with Bjana Lunde: In this course, students will explore traditional realistic portrait techniques using photo references to capture a likeness. You will then dive deeper creating portrait drawings that go beyond simple documentation and continue to investigate the artist's interpretation of the subject using a variety of mixed materials.
  • Animation with April Macatangay: You'll learn stop-motion animation and frame animation techniques as well as film making and editing processes. You can choose to work with a wide variety of media including found objects, Claymation, and drawings (traditional or digital). Necessary equipment includes:
    • Digital camera (tablet camera, phone camera or digital DSLR)
    • Stand/ tripod for camera/device
    • Stop Motion Studio app: free version (paid version optional, but not required)
  • 3-D Paper Construction and Adornment with Gretchen Schreiber: Using paper as the primary medium, you will create a “wearable” or jewelry piece. Using a methodical repetition of a single element as a building block, you'll construct a larger structure and explore the possibilities of a common medium by experimenting with scale, color, space, pattern, orientation, etc. Through the process of multiplying simple, hand-crafted paper units, you will create cohesive wearables while also strengthening their understanding of geometric concepts.
  • Oil Pastel Realism with Lynn Stockton and Courtney Haugdahl: You will be introduced to the responsive, painterly, and subtle surfaces created by oil pastel. Using artist-grade oil pastels in combination with colored pencils, this class will explore developing transitional layers of color to build smooth opaque surfaces as well as expressive mark-making. Imagery will focus on refracted illusions with students creating imagery from objects found within their personal space. Concept development along with the replication of realism will be addressed.

Sketchbook Workshop

Series of Prompts: sketchbook practice includes experimentation and idea development. Within the format of a sketchbook, artists should challenge themselves to daily drawing exercises resulting in a series of works that reflect quick thinking, responsive drawing, and personal voice. Using drawing, collage, and mixed media processes, students will concentrate on producing imagery that reflects investigation and inquiry.

Portfolio Workshop

  • Portfolio Preparation: presentations by admissions staff and experienced high school faculty focused on portfolio preparation/presentation for college admissions and scholarship opportunities.
  • Portfolio Reviews: feedback and mentoring regarding individual student work. Staff will offer direction through one-on-one interviews regarding the development of a competitive pre-college portfolio.

Creative Artists Who Inspire

Lectures and Discussions: contemporary artists and art forms will be introduced that inspire and empower creative thinking and production. Within a lecture and discussion format, camp staff will introduce campers to intriguing and inspiring artists in order to cultivate a more fluent understanding of critical contemporary art issues and aesthetics. 

Open Studio Sessions

Work Sessions: campers will be encouraged to attend sessions led by instructors and mentors with the primary focus being production and conversation. As studio artists, campers will be encouraged to talk about their progress and document the development of their work. These sessions provide additional support as well as encourage peer mentoring through conversation and demonstration.  


Registration fee: $350

Registration Deadline: June 28, 2021

Art supply fee: $65 (mandatory)

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

Registration will open soon. 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.

Need-based scholarship assistance is available! 

Online Registration Form

Paper Registration Form

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.

Lynn Stockton (camp director)

Lynn Stockton has been a high school art teacher since 1982. 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 in multiple 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 AP Art at Rockford Jefferson High School and leads the school's college and career Business Academy. Ms. Stockton has been the director of the Visual Arts Camp since 2001.

Ailysh Cooper (experimental drawing and painting)

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 (dreaming and drawing in color)

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.

Courtney Haugdahl (oil pastel realism)

Courtney is a 2013 NIU alumni who received a bachelor’s degree in Art Education (painting emphasis) and university honors. Her preferred forms of art are painting and drawing, she is also an avid reader and gardener. Courtney taught visual art in Rockford Public Schools at the middle and high school levels for seven years and has currently taken a hiatus from the classroom to prepare for and pursue an M.F.A. in painting or drawing. 

Bjana Lunde (altered portraits)

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 (animation)

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.

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.

Timothy Roloff (acrylic protrait 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 two years. Tim has been a counselor at Art Camp since 2014.

Gretchen Schreiber (3-D paper construction and adornment)

Gretchen Schreiber received her B.F.A in metals in 2012 from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and is currently pursuing dual master's degrees at NIU in metals, jewelry design and digital fabrication, and in art education. Gretchen's work is research based three-dimensional art, focusing on authenticity and performativity of self in the digital realm. She was a camper from 2004-2005 and this is her fourth 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.

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 until further notice. 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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