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The Claymobile's Summer 2013 Claymation Learning Labs

The Claymobile's Summer 2013 Claymation Learning Labs

The Clay Studio

Program Summary

The Clay Studio is excited to announce that its award-winning Claymobile Outreach program will launch three Claymation Learning Labs at locations throughout Philadelphia during the Summer of 2013. Through partnerships with the Free Library of Philadelphia – Tacony Branch, Steppingstone Scholars at William Penn Charter School, and the Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation, the Claymobile will engage more than 200 local teens aged 13-17 in web-based Claymation video projects that explore themes of good online citizenship, social responsibility, diversity and collaboration. With the guidance of our experienced artist-educators, students will collaborate to create short Claymation films on issues of digital citizenship like cyber-bullying and online etiquette, and then will learn about safe and responsible online communication as they share their videos on the Claymobile’s YouTube and social media pages. The students served by the Claymation Learning Labs will be predominantly minority (30-50% African American, 20-30% Latino, 15-20% Caucasian, 5-10% Asian), low-income (95% of pre-screened participants are classified as economically disadvantaged) and geographically isolated (project locations include disadvantaged neighborhoods in North Philadelphia).

The Claymobile’s Claymation Learning Labs will tackle the dual problems of inadequate access to arts education and insufficient digital learning opportunities—problems that disproportionately plague minority and economically disadvantaged youth. With 20 years of experience teaching hands-on ceramic art classes for Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged and under-served children and teens, we have seen firsthand the dearth of programs that effectively engage youth in the arts and technology. We know that today’s youth will be competing in a world that is increasingly reliant upon familiarity with technology, online communications, principles of good web citizenship, and multi-disciplinary skills. This project seeks to increase students’ technological skills, inspire social responsibility, foster an interest in the arts, and encourage teamwork, and does so in a creative, equitable, hands-on and engaging way.


The Claymobile’s Claymation Learning Labs will occur in July and August 2013 at three Philadelphia locations. The Claymobile will visit the Tacony Branch of the Free Library each Wednesday in July, from 2:00 – 3:30pm, for a total of five class sessions serving approximately 30 students. Participants will include local teens aged 13 and up. In partnership with Steppingstone Scholars’ summer program at William Penn Charter School, the Claymobile will visit on Tuesdays from July 9 – August 6, from 2:15 – 4:00pm. This learning lab will serve approximately 30 students aged 15 and up. The Claymobile is also excited to bring its Claymation Learning Labs to the City of Philadelphia’s Summer Parkway Festivals, the Department of Parks & Recreation’s initiative to use the city’s green spaces for innovative, youth oriented programming. Claymation labs for children, teens and families will be available all day on July 10, August 7 and August 14, serving a diverse audience of at least 150 participants from the Philadelphia area.

As a 100% mobile program, the Claymobile brings all the equipment and supplies needed for a class session to the partner site. For each session, a team of artist-educators loads Claymation equipment and materials into the Claymobile van, travels to the program site, conducts class, and then reloads the van and returns to the program’s support center in North Philadelphia. The equipment and supplies needed for the Claymation Learning Labs include plasticine clay, Apple iPads, iPad stands, and other art supplies.

The Claymation Learning Labs’ goal is to engage youth participants in collaborative Claymation projects that explore issues related to good online citizenship, diversity, and social responsibility, and to then extend those ideas into conversations about proper methods of posting videos online and ways to maintain safe and responsible online communications. The Claymobile’s experienced artist-educators will guide students through the process of making a Claymation film, from brainstorming topics and characters, to storyboarding the narrative, to sculpting clay figures and filming and editing each scene. Students will work in groups to produce their films, sharing their ideas and taking turns at different tasks throughout the process.

Claymation Learning Labs will engage students in new kinds of projects that blend the arts and technology, emphasize teamwork and communication, and ultimately help them make the web a better, safer place for all. Many of the participating students will have never touched clay or experienced a ceramic art class, and most have limited access to the digital technologies used to create and share Claymation films. Students from the Free Library of Philadelphia and Steppingstone Scholars will produce 4-5 Claymation short films over the course of their learning labs, which they can then view and share online, with family and friends, and with the wider community. Participants from the Summer Parkway Festivals will participate in the program for a less structured amount of time, but they will have the opportunity to make a Claymation film and will be provided with information on how they can view and share the finished product online.

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