Art is not just for those who are super creative. It’s also a means of educating young kids and getting them to connect. Art helps develop fine motor skills which also enhances the brain’s functionality, so it is good for everyone, even if you aren’t the next Any Warhol or Monet. The city has many art activities for kids all year. If you are looking to get your kids into art classes, here are the top five in the area for accessibility, length of program and simple funt factor as stated by past participants.
Center for the Arts in Southern New Jersey
123 S. Elmwood Road
Marlton, NJ 08053
Art classes at Center for the Arts in Southern New Jersey are about an hour and half long and typically held in the evenings. The cost for a class is about $60-$75 depending on the length of the class (either four weeks or five weeks). The Center for Arts is ideal for kids who work better in smaller groups, and classes are capped at 10 students in order to offer one-on-one instruction. Students will draw with a variety of tools (colored pencil, pen, chalk, etc.), and painting classes work with acrylics and oils. Students start off with a pencil and work their way through other instruments. Classes are available in different age groups from as young as five to age 17 (adult classes are also available for those interested!). The center has an open gallery as well.
Allens Lane Art Center
601 W. Allens Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Allens Lane Art Center has a unique blend of art and athletic activities. During the summer, it runs an art day camp for ages five to 12 from June 30 through August 22. Camp hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with extensions available for an extra charge. Camp will also include weekly field trips; the schedule is set on the website. Campers can enjoy art, such as painting, drawing and voice and theater arts. Some of the athletic activities include weekly swimming at the YMCA, tennis and basketball. Allens Lane provides a well-rounded schedule of activities to keep kids engaged and learning throughout the summer. Parents can opt to pay for a specific amount of weeks, with up to eight available. Ten-percent discounts are available when paying before June 1.
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Art Camp
118 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
PAFA offers art classes for all ages, and you can register online. Art day camps are available in the summer for kids ages five to 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A variety of classes are offered in subjects including graphic novels, painting, puppetry and comics. For example, one class is taught on how to draw the characters from Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”
Philly Art Center
Fairmount Art Center
2501 Olive St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Queen Village Art Center
514 Bainbridge St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
The Philly Art Center has ongoing classes and a summer camp program that runs all summer long. The main teaching style is based on a balance of creative problem solving with age-appropriate development/skills and concept development. Classes involve both indoor and outdoor activities, and there are themed weeks. There are two programs for different ages: ages four to 12 for general art and tween courses for ages nine to 12. The latter focuses on sewing, drawing, painting and the art in graphic novels. The Fairmount Art Center has been in business for 10 years. It opened its second location in 2011 after prosperous growth.
Portside Arts Center
2531 E. Lehigh Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Portside Arts Center has a wide variety of courses in different lengths held throughout the year for kids, teens and toddlers. Some of the class offerings include a robot shop, sewing, mosaic art, stained glass and digital photography. You have the ability to find what will suit your needs with the varying course lengths, such as the 10-week drawing class for kids ages five to 12 or toddler classes for ages three to five. Also, there are many courses for adults that teach practical skills for do-it-yourselfers. A core belief is that art strengthens discipline and problem solving skills.
Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here Examiner.com.