In connection with the Baltimore’s Child Virtual Summer Camps and Activities Fair, we’re introducing you to some of the many summer camp participants. Today, you’ll meet The Painting Workshop. Give your child the opportunity to explore his or her inner artist while safely socializing in small group classes. Learn more about The Painting Workshop’s summer camp programming from The Painting Workshop’s executive director Alana McFall.
Watch our video interview below and read more in the Q&A that follows.
Contact: The Painting Workshop | 410-466-3510
BC: Can you describe some of the highlights of your summer camp programming?
Alana McFall: We are so excited to be able to hold a full 13 weeks of camp on the beautiful, dare I say magical, grounds of The Ivy BookShop. Camps at The Ivy location will be held entirely outside. We have the whole beautifully landscaped outdoor space at our disposal. Each camp week will draw its inspiration from a book (which each child will receive) and the natural environment around us. We of course also have our classic art camp, which is a blast from the past! Our Classic art camps bring children ages 5 to 10 years together in our studio or yurt space at our Mt. Washington campus to have a fun week of Summer Art Camp. Paintings, projects and arts and crafts vary by the week, and no two weeks are exactly the same.
In any given week, your child will paint, craft, explore and create using a variety of materials and techniques inspired by local contemporary artists, the masters and the natural world around us. In addition, our specialty camps combine all the fun of our classic camps with a more focus on a specific theme, age group or demographic. No two specialty camps are the same. Your camper could conceivably spend many weeks with us this summer and learn something new each time they come. Our classic and specialty camps are held at our Mt. Washington campus in our studio apace and yurt space, respectively.
This year, we are also offering two weeks of camps for tweens and teens and a week of adaptive camp for children with special needs.
BC: What aspects of the summer camp experience do parents comment about the most?
AM: Parents love that their kids are having fun and learning at the same time. Painting workshop campers come back year after year. Parents are delighted that their creative, crafty, quirky kids have an art camp that supports them in their passion. So many camps in Baltimore are geared toward sporty kids. We offer an entirely different kind of environment, a super safe and fun place for creative self-expression.
We also play and move our bodies. Nobody is expected to sit still all day, and we make time in our day for trips to the playground or the arboretum to run, climb or just explore and be in nature.
BC: What aspects do kids like the most about your summer camp offerings?
AM: They get to make a mess! And, at the end of the mess, they have something beautiful to show for it! Kids feel loved here. It is a safe and nurturing place. You can’t be wrong when you are making art. We provide a nonevaluative environment that provides structure and room for individual expression. Teachers support kids and kids support each other here.
BC: How did your organization respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of summer camp last year?
AM: Wow! We made things really small real quick! Historically, The Painting Workshop welcomed about 40 kids divided into two groups of 20 to its campus each summer. Last year, each camp was maxed at eight kids, but we still provided two teachers per group. We also shifted from holding cams inside to having them entirely outside. This took a lot of work to get our outside space ready for classes, but it was worth it and we will never go back! Kids should be outside.
We also took everyone’s temperature upon arrival. Everyone was expected to wear masks, and we practically bathed in hand sanitizer.
We also kept our bubbles closed. We stopped allowing drop-in students and only took campers who could commit to an entire week. We also sanitized every surface every day. It was a lot of work, but we kept our campers and teachers healthy and happy.
BC: What steps are you taking this year to keep campers safe and healthy?
AM: The same as above, but we’re adding a few more campers. We are capping our Mt. Washington camps to 12 kids and our Ivy camps at 16.
BC: What would you say are the benefits of summer camp for children?
AM: There are no screens here, only creative exploration and a warm, supportive community environment. We are outside in the fresh air and we laugh a lot. Kids also learn a lot here, not only about art but also about respect and community building. It is simply a lovely place to be.