September 2, 2021RCA Summer Camp Creates Lifelong Memories: Guest Blog from Instructor Brock Gratz

My name is Brock! To the students here at Arts Blast in 2020 and 2021, I was "Mr. Brock," teaching programs like Voice Acting, Improv Games, and all sorts of fun performing arts activities. 

So after two years of teaching for Arts Blast, what are the takeaways? What did I teach and what did I learn? 

Personally, the standout, above everything else, has to be positive energy. Working with kids and teaching them a craft or a skill you're passionate about and have spent years developing helps to renew that enthusiasm for the art form. Seeing someone discover part of the creative arts for the first time and take those first steps into it is really inspirational as a working artist. It reminds me of why I got into it in the first place and why it's still important to me. Teaching helps me fondly remember the people I have learned from, and that's great too. 

The best part of working in a multidisciplinary art program is also that things are as fresh for us as they are for the students. Each hour has a different activity or theme and it keeps us all in the moment. There's an earnest, upbeat environment to the Arts Blast program, and it's a positive place to come back to each day, and it seems to just fly by! Two months of teaching all day to nearly 500 kids sound like a lot, but it doesn't feel like it. I'm aware on some level that I'm teaching all these activities and games and that the groups change, weeks start and end, but it really does feel like you snap your fingers and it's already the end of the day…or the summer. Time flies when you're having fun, as they say. 

Most importantly though, I think a central concept and the backbone of what makes Arts Blast special and a really great part of Kelowna's arts and cultural scene is the fact that it is cultivating and developing the artistic talents of young artists in this community, and employing both emerging and experienced artists to instruct and guide them. 

Too often I think an emphasis is placed on one generation or one part within the arts community when we are all in the same boat and on the same journey. To pursue a career in the creative arts is a challenge, but it is always easier when confronted together with like minds and eager determination. We may come from different backgrounds, pursue different disciplines of work, and sometimes find ourselves competing, but we are all on the same upward climb. My strong belief is that together we will meet at the summit. 

In teaching for Arts Blast, I have sought to make sure that I didn't merely teach our young participants to be creative, but to be kind and collaborative, and to recognize that the arts are more fun when we can succeed together.

I certainly felt that the team we had this year achieved that success, and I could not be more proud to have been a part of it. There will always be more challenges to overcome as a young working artist, but for right now what I feel is a sense of accomplishment for what we did. It's great to be able to look at something that brought a lot of happiness to many of this city's kids and know I had a part in it. 

I hope to return in some capacity in the following year and do so once again in 2022.

Thanks so much for a fun two years! 

-Brock Gratz

Art Blast Camp Counsellor, Voice Acting, Watercolours & Anime Art Instructor, and Former Graphic Design & Special Projects at the Rotary Centre for the Arts

RCA Summer Camp Creates Lifelong Memories: Guest Blog from Instructor Brock Gratz