Artra: The Art Camp Created by Two Naperville North Students

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Three years ago Kathleen Nie’s love for art inspired her to share that passion with others.

“And I thought ‘who doesn’t have this opportunity?’ Because I really wanted to have everyone try it at least once. So I just thought perhaps the children, because if we can start them young then they will really be able to enjoy it for their entire lifetime,” said Nie.

Kathleen was joined by her friend Madison Ding. The two had the idea to start an art donation program. But that soon turned into something more.

“We realized that instead of just making an impact through funds, we could actually make an impact through our time and our experiences. And since Kathleen and I both have a really extensive background in art, we just connected the dots and it seemed really natural for us to do camps with kids instead because we both really like working with kids,” said Ding.

The free art discovery camp “Artra” was born, and now the two seniors at Naperville North teach kids of all ages how to express their creativity.

They’ve worked with kids not just at the Alive Center in Naperville, but also at Peace Corners Youth Center in Chicago and at Shriners and La Rabida hospitals.

“They face a lot of different life challenges at such a young age,” said Nie. “It’s great to have them be able to express themselves, and feel safe and confident through art.”

Discovering a new craft while discovering something new about themselves.

And a fun fact about why the name “Artra” was chosen for the camp: it spells the word “art” both forward and backward.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.