Eight Carson City children perch on metal stools around a roomy table in the cool of the art studio, their faces a study in concentration on the terra cotta squares before them.
Lorraine Felix, the pottery teacher, holds up a glazed tile that would be at home anywhere in the Southwest.
"These pictures are me," she says to the class. "Now we're going to find out who you are, by what you put on your tile."
Instant pleasure registers on each child's face as their minds start rooting around for what best stands for them now, at the age of 7 or 8 or 9, in the dog days of summer in the year 2000.
"Soccer," says one boy shyly.
"Britney Spears!" cry two girls, and they bounce over to an assortment of pasta alphabet letters so they can spell out the pop star's name.
Such are the pleasures of childhood, and they are offered by the Brewery Arts Center's Imagination in Action summer camp, whose second session runs through Aug. 11. The session, which started Monday, will accept signups through Wednesday. Cost for the 9 a.m to noon two-week session is $140 for members, $145 for nonmembers.
"We want to stir their creativity and give them something they can go home with and do there," said Darla Bayer, camp manager, who chooses a theme for each camp. A Christmas camp, Holiday Imagination, is also scheduled.
The current session, titled "This is Me, Who Are You?",offers three art classes per day.
"We'll do self-portraits, make a sign they can put on their room door, and do a handprint pot," said Felix. The children will also host a party for the parents, complete with a show using puppets they've made.
Next door to the pottery class, children drew and pasted gewgaws on what they thought would be their "most amazing selves." Jacob Branco, 6, saw himself with bright red cheeks and wearing yellow feathers. Danita Bayer and Kate Dunlap, both 7, were busy drawing that quintessential little-girl dream of being a ballerina.
Over in the bead room, children in the middle years - average age 8 - were stringing beads on a wire they would bend into the letters of their names.
"It's about self-expression," said Bayer. "We get them to think about who they are and what they want to be when they grow up."
What: Two-week summer camp, "Imagination in Action
When: July 31 - August 11, 9 a.m. - noon
Where: Brewery Arts Center