Visual Arts Camp


Challenge yourself in a variety of art media!

Serious high school artists are invited to participate in exciting, diverse, and creative art experiences at the Visual Arts Camp. Working with faculty, students, and alumni from the NIU School of Art, campers are encouraged to be innovative as they experiment with new materials, techniques, and ideas while producing portfolio-quality work in a university environment.

Group art activities, performance art presentations, and recreational activities complete the schedule for this fun-filled and diverse week. Presentations by nationally known artists, art historians, and talented studio artists enrich and enhance the hands-on studio experiences. The week concludes with a gala art show in the Olson Gallery for families and friends.

Thank you Prismacolor for its generous sponsorship of the Visual Arts Camp. We look forward to their continuing support of the camp in 2018.

Studio Sessions

Studio work forms the core of the Visual Arts Camp and campers will be fully engaged in two intensive studio classes that meet each day for the week. On the registration form, campers make a first, second, and third choice of classes from each studio session and are assigned to one class for each session. There is limited space in each class. Classes with insufficient enrollment may be cancelled.

NOTE: The content of classes changes from year to year, providing new challenges for first-time and returning campers alike.

Morning Studio Sessions

  • 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.
  • Dynamic Color and Composition - Elizabeth Woodyatt
    Using oil pastel and colored pencil, students explore drawing and design issues using color and composition to create dynamic visual effects. Students learn to build visually powerful surfaces using color in a representational or non-traditional way.
  • Acrylic Painting - Janell Matas
    Learn traditional and expressive acrylic painting techniques to create dynamic and dramatic imagery.
  • Life Drawing - Terrance Gray
    Draw the human figure while being introduced to college-level life drawing concepts and techniques.
  • Plaster Sculpture/3-D Experience - April Macatangay
    Using elements and principles of design, students create plaster sculptures using subtractive carving techniques as they develop forms that convey meaning.
  • Sketchbook Explorations - 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.

Afternoon Studio Sessions

  • Printmaking - Ana Cortes
    Students explore a variety of printmaking experiences and develop a series of prints in the NIU printmaking studio.
  • Acrylic Painting - Courtney Haugdahl
    Learn traditional and expressive acrylic painting techniques to create dynamic and dramatic imagery.
  • 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.
  • Life Drawing - Frank Matas
    Draw the human figure while being introduced to college-level life drawing concepts and techniques.
  • Cardboard Sculpture/3-D Experience - Tim Roloff
    Using a number of construction techniques, students will create large scale cardboard sculptural works inspired by objects and the use of recyclables.
  • Portraits in Acrylic - Brandon Barber
    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)

Enrichment Sessions

Guest speakers present visual overviews of their life and works as they share their career paths in visual arts.

Evening Art Activities

Students participate in evening art-making activities, often experimenting with new materials while interacting and socializing with other young artists from a variety of backgrounds. Activities may include portfolio embellishment, campus art scavenger hunt, group sculpture building, and performance art. Campers have the opportunity to devote extra time to art projects during open studio sessions scheduled every evening.

Check-In: Sunday, July 14, 2019 Check-in is on Sunday between 1:45 - 3:00 p.m. First, campers and parents check into the camp residence hall, Gilbert Hall, with their luggage. Then, go to the nearby Music Building and pick up camp materials.

Camp Orientation The camper/parent orientation meeting is at 3:15 p.m. with camp director Lynn Stockton and staff in the Concert Hall, NIU Music Building. Parents are welcome.

Closing Ceremony / Art Show: Friday, July 19, 2019 The closing ceremony and art show are on Friday and begin at 5:15 p.m. in the Art Building (Jack Arends Hall). Parents and campers will go to the residence hall after the art show to pick up campers' belongings.


Student Dorm: Gilbert Hall 383 Gilbert Drive, Dekalb IL 60115

Check In: Music Building 550 Lucinda Ave, Dekalb IL 60115

Art Camp Activities: Jack Arends Hall 330 Gilbert Drive, Dekalb IL 60115

Parking Convenient free parking is available in the lot south of the Music and Art Buildings. Gilbert Hall is within easy walking distance of this lot and there is a small lot in front of Gilbert.

Note: All times are subject to change. Be sure to check the camper letter that you will receive about one month before the start of camp to confirm the information.

Camper Packets

Campers receive a packet with camp information, forms, and payment information in early June. This includes information about what to bring to camp, a final bill for the balance of payment, camper rules, and an information sheet about housing and meals. All this information (minus billing information) will be online by June 3.

Health Information

We use an online service called Camp Docs to safely and securely collect camper health information. Once you have registered we will contact you via email to begin the process of submitting camper health information via Camp Docs.


Dates: July 14 - 19, 2019
Grades: 8-12, grade completion
Early Bird Registration: Postmarked June 1 or earlier - $600
Regular Registration: Postmarked June 2 or later - $650
Art Supply Fee: $55 (mandatory)

All registration forms must be accompanied by a deposit of $100. This may be paid by credit card or by check, made payable to Northern Illinois University. A registration form without the deposit will not be processed. The only exception is if you are applying for an NIU need scholarship; you will be expected to pay the $20 scholarship application fee only. See the scholarship section for more detail.

Online Registration Form - (Credit card payments only)

Paper Registration Form - (Fax, mail, or print/scan/email. Payment via Credit card or checks mailed to the office)

The balance of payment is due on June 14 If you paid the deposit by credit card, the balance will be charged to the same card by NIU on this date. Balance payments by check are due on this date. If you have any questions about billing or registration please contact us!

Scholarship Information

There is a limited amount of money available for need-based scholarships from NIU. The application form is available below or by calling the office at (815) 753-1450. Forms and application fees must be received by May 1. There is a $20 non-refundable application fee for NIU need scholarships. The fee will be applied towards the balance owed. Forms that do not include the application fee or that are missing requested information will not be processed.

If you are applying for a scholarship please send in the Paper Registration Form with your completed scholarship application. You do not need to pay the $100 deposit at this time, only the $20 scholarship application fee. Award letters are sent in mid-May.

In previous years, many campers have received scholarship aid from their schools, local booster clubs, PTAs, community theatres, and local service organizations. We recommend that you contact such groups in your area in early spring.

Summer in the Arts Need Scholarship Form


Returning Camper and Family - Campers who have previously attended Visual Arts camp and children and grandchildren of NIU staff, faculty, and students receive a $25 discount.

Early Bird - Save when you register and pay the deposit by June 1 (postmark deadline). Camp often fills before the early bird deadline, so it is important to get your registration form in as early as possible if you know you want to attend a camp.

Cancellation/Refund Information

Before Camp

A full refund is provided if NIU cancels the camp or if the camp is full. A full refund may be allowed for campers who withdraw because of illness or a family emergency; these situations are decided on a case-by-case basis and documentation from a doctor or other professional is required. If the camp is full, the camper is put on a waiting list and will not be charged.

A camper who withdraws more than 28 days before the start date of the camp receives a refund of all but $50.00. A camper who withdraws 15-27 days before the start date of the camp receives a refund of all but $100.00. A camper who withdraws 14 days or less before the start date of camp does not receive a refund.

During Camp

A camper who leaves camp during the week because of illness or a family emergency may receive a prorated refund, provided documentation from a doctor or other professional is provided within one week of the date the camper left. If the camper leaves camp during the week for other any other reason, the camper does not receive a refund.

All refunds are issued by the same method of payment that was used to make the payment. Credit card refunds are credited to the same credit card used for the payment within 2-3 days of the request. Refunds by check can take 4–6 weeks.

Camp Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Summer in the Arts at Northern
Northern Illinois University, College of Visual and Performing Arts
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy
DeKalb, IL 60115

Phone: (815) 753-1450

Fax: 815-753-8372


Summer in the Arts at Northern hires many talented individuals for the summer camps. NIU faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, alumni, guest artists and area teachers, serve as camp directors, instructors and counselors. Camp directors devise the camp curriculum and oversee the week's activities. All have had extensive teaching experience. Campers are supervised at all times; the ratio of adults to campers is about one to 12. Counselors are assigned to each residence hall floor and accompany the campers to all meals and activities.

Lynn Stockton (Camp Director)

Lynn Stockton (camp director) has been a high school art teacher for 30 years. She is a National 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.

Portraits in Acrylic

Brandon Barber

Brandon Barber (instructor and counselor) received his bachelor of fine art degrees in both sculpture and painting from Northern Illinois University in spring 2013 and plans on pursuing graduate school in the near future. He was a camper at the Visual Arts Camp for four years as a high school student and began his career as a counselor with the camp in 2007. He began teaching at the camp in 2013.

Mixed Media

Lisa Doll

Lisa Doll (instructor) earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education 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.


Ana Cortes

Bio coming soon!


April Macantagay

April Macatangay (instructor, counselor) 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 in the Philippines, where she learned to make traditional clothing from pineapple fiber. Her work has been exhibited widely and she currently teaches in the Chicago area. April has worked with the Visual Arts Camp for a number of years.

Timothy Roloff

Tim is currently student teaching in Rochelle and will be graduating in May with an art education degree.

Acrylic Painting

Courtney Haugdahl

Courtney Haugdahl (counselor) 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.

Janell Matas

Janell Reamer Matas (instructor) 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 since at Naperville North High School since 2002, where she teaches AP Art History, drawing and painting. She has been a counselor and teacher off and on with the Visual Arts Camp since 1997.

Experimental Drawing Studies

Bjana Lunde

Bjana Lunde (instructor, counselor) received her bachelor's degree from NIU in 2005, where she majored in art education. She taught ceramics and sculpture at Harry D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin from 2005 - 2013 and is now teaching at Algonquin Middle School. 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.

Life Drawing

Frank Matas

Frank Matas (life drawing instructor) 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 advanced placement studio art. He has been with the Visual Arts Camp since 1995.

Terrance Gray

Terrance is thrilled to be back teaching at camp for his second year!

Drawing Realism

Becki Miller

Becki Miller (counselor, instructor) is currently a local and freelance artist. She will be attending NIU in 2015 to pursue her degree in art education. She has been involved in the camp since 1998 as a camper and became a counselor in 2002.

Dynamic Color and Composition

Elizabeth Woodyatt

Elizabeth Woodyatt (instructor) 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. She is currently teaching art, including fine and computer arts at Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford. She also creates, exhibits, and sells her own artwork. She has taught at the Visual Arts Camp for a number of years.

Metalwork / Digital Fabrication

Gretchen Schreiber

Bio coming soon!


Dates: July 14 - 19, 2019
Grades: 8-12, grade completion
Early Bird Registration: Postmarked June 1 or earlier $600
Regular Registration: Postmarked June 2 or later - $650
Art Supply Fee: $55 (mandatory)

Online Form

Paper form