After all that virtual learning this school year, kids are really craving hands-on in-person activities this summer. One area studio is encouraging them to roll up their sleeves, grab some clay, and get creative in mixed media, with the end result of having the most impressive art gallery of anyone in their neighborhood.
Pottery Playground, the Woodbridge studio founded by the mother-and-daughter duo of Val and Katherine Christy, is offering ARTrageous ARTventures, a series of four-day multimedia art camps for kids ages 5 to 13, running from June 14 to August 27. Held at their studio in Woodbridge, the camps run Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature the opportunity to create two to three pieces each day from fused glass and mosaics, paint on pottery and canvas, and even make candles.
“We love working with kids and always strive to empower them by showing them just how talented they are,” Val says. “We’re all creative beings, especially our littles; kids are natural with art because they dive in, fearless!” During the camp, young students are given adult-sized projects and taught the same techniques. But they can also anticipate laughter, silliness, dancing, and tons of fun, she adds.
Students must register for camp at least 10 days in advance of the desired session, which costs $285. Registrations are non-refundable, but attendees can switch weeks or receive a gift certificate to be used for another class. The camps follow CDC guidelines, with socially distanced tables, masks required for everyone ages 3 and up, and frequent cleaning and sanitizing; guests are also encouraged to call or text before coming in. The owners also take the programs to daycares and schools to help bolster other camps, and offer team-building sessions for adults at their studio or an off-site location.
Pottery Playground also has an Art to Go program to purchase supplies online, pick them up inside or curbside, and create at home; it’s a fun option for Family Fridays, ladies’ nights in, and more. By design, the projects are doable by anyone, no matter their artistic experience or ability, and are meant to show that art is meditative and healing.
Prior to opening their Woodbridge location, the pair ran a mobile fired-arts studio since 2005, and serviced area schools with art enrichments and summer art camps. “Opening the storefront has been a longtime dream,” Val says, adding that she and her daughter received final county approvals the same week of the national shutdown in 2020. “We went from exaltation to confusion and depression in a day.” But when Governor Northam reopened businesses last summer, they got to work ordering furniture, supplies, and inventory; receiving everything took longer than anticipated because of the pandemic, and they finally opened last Halloween. Val describes herself as “hippie-dippy, wandering here and there with ideas,” while she says Kate is artistic, pragmatic, and keeps them focused—a perfect combination.
“Our studio provides a relaxed, creative environment for people to have fun,” Val says. “We want them to leave their troubles and stresses at the door—only laughter and smiles are allowed once inside!” For more information on the arts camps and other offerings, visit the website.
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