Detergent provides object lesson for summer art camp

Detergent provides object lesson for summer art camp
Some of the nearly 500 participants who attended ThouArtExalted summer art camp for girls.

Annie Pajcic’s annual summer art camps could be called famous among the circles of tween and teen girls in Jacksonville. Nearly 500 local girls attended one of the three one-week camp sessions in July, held at St. Johns Presbyterian Church.

“ThouArtExalted started when my daughter was going into fourth grade. I very quickly realized that there was no Bible study curriculum for this group. It was all very heavy high school, or very young elementary school,” said Annie Pajcic. “Because I have a background in youth ministry and in art, I decided to create a curriculum that was exciting for these girls at this age to bridge the gap.”

Pajcic, founder of the Christian, art-focused ministry ThouArtExalted, took her inspiration for this year’s curriculum from an unusual source: detergent.

“I liked how I could talk to my counselors and my small group about God, and not feel self-conscious,” said Chase Duggan, getting a piggyback ride from Ginny Kurlas.

“I liked how I could talk to my counselors and my small group about God, and not feel self-conscious,” said Chase Duggan, getting a piggyback ride from Ginny Kurlas.

“This camp is titled ‘Brave.’ Brave is a detergent that is going to rid you of the deepest, darkest stain that you have. That stain is sin and only Jesus can wash away that sin. Each day we study a different sin, like feeling discouraged or out of control. Brave is the anti-septic, or the stain remover, and symbolizes all the promises of God, like hope, trust, and prayer, that we use to fight sin,” Pajcic explained.

“We have been learning a lot of things about being brave,” said 11-year-old camper Gertrude Hetzel. “The most important thing I’ve learned at camp is that God made everyone different so that everyone could be brave and stand up for each other.”

Each day the campers created a different piece of art to remind them of the daily lesson. 

“The foundation of our ministry is to study the Word, but then to make an art project that emphasizes that. When they see it displayed in their bedrooms they are reminded of what they learned,” said Pajcic, an Ortega resident. “If you look back in history at the stained glass windows or the painting of the Last Supper, you can see how art has been an evangelistic tool forever.”

One of the art projects was to create a “junk” frame.

“On the frame, we glued junk, and in the middle instead of a picture, we glued a cross. It reminds us that your focus should be on Jesus instead of distractions,” said high school volunteer Olivia Nolan. “The next day one of the girls brought in a giant junk frame she had made in the shape of an A for Annie. She had a note for Annie explaining that she never really was interested in art, but camp has made her really enjoy it. It was really exciting to see we are making a difference in her life.”


By Sarah Duggan
Resident Community News

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