This summer, dozens of students headed to Fayetteville for Design Camp. Sketchbooks in hand, they explored the University of Arkansas campus, Fayetteville community and greater Northwest Arkansas area while looking for examples of good design.

The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design hosts Design Camp in several Arkansas cities each summer to teach students about the basic principles of design. The camp started in Fayetteville, and new locations were added over the years as the camp grew in popularity. However, the Fayetteville camp has remained the most popular, and it quickly fills to capacity each year.

To meet this high demand, the Fayetteville camp was expanded into two sessions this year – with one held in June and the other in July. Adding the second session allowed for even more students around the state and beyond to learn about the design professions. Students came from Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Tennessee.

The camps show students a glimpse of what it’s like to pursue a career as an architect, landscape architect or interior designer. For many, like these students in the second Fayetteville session, coming to Design Camp gives them a chance to figure out whether a design major is right for them.

Landry Grace Nelson holds her model aloft, adding the final details before taking it to review.  

Landry Grace Nelson, a ninth grade student from Ruston, Louisiana, said she came to Design Camp because she was interested in architecture as a future college major. However, during camp, she started to consider studying interior design instead.

“I’ve learned it’s not all just building offices and stuff,” she said. “I think I’m (leaning) more towards interior design because building these small models is not my forte.”

Design Camp can give a head start to students who figure out what college major they want to pursue while they are still early in their high school career. With the Fayetteville camps hosted at the Fay Jones School on the University of Arkansas campus, it gives students an idea of what the college experience is like. The Fayetteville camps also offer a Design II option, which allows returning or advanced design students to gain a deeper understanding about the design process.

Rayshaun Aldridge sketches his view of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. 

Rayshaun Aldridge is a Jonesboro High School senior who plans to come to the Fay Jones School next year to study landscape architecture. He attended the Fayetteville Design Camp last year and returned this year for the Design II camp to learn more about landscape architecture and to prepare for life as a college student.  

“When I first came here, I really enjoyed it,” he said. “Just getting the opportunity to experience it and what studio is like.”

Kameron Wright discusses his projects with Greg Herman, an architecture professor at the Fay Jones School. 

Kameron Wright, a 10th grade student from Bentonville, also took part in the Design II camp in Fayetteville this year after attending the Little Rock camp last year. He said he wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, alumnus Reginald Wright (B.Arch. ’96), and become an architect. For him, the Design II camp explored design principles in greater complexity.

“This one, I feel like we do a little bit more architecture,” he said. “Last year, it was more fundamentals and sketching.”

Fiorella Sibaja gets some project guidance from Carl Smith, a landscape architecture professor at the Fay Jones School. 

The camps help spur students to think about the future and view the world around them in a new light. Fiorella Sibaja, an 11th grade student from Bentonville, said her favorite part of the camp was “learning how to see things differently from an architecture perspective.”

Although this is her first Design Camp, Sibaja said it has helped her learn more about the field, and she’s now planning to study landscape architecture with a minor in interior design.