Like most others around the globe, Portside was not anticipating the drastic changes to our economy and everyday life due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although children and adult programming was ceased temporarily at the Portside, this did not change our dedication to continue providing our community with arts education. We give tremendous thanks to the Philadelphia Cultural Fund in helping us to further serve and nourish our community through art and culture at this time.
In an effort to keep our community engaged in the arts and to connect with each other through creativity, we have introduced virtual programming to our students and community. By seeing and sharing each other’s artwork, we can have a sense of unity and continue to be inspired. Portside’s teachers have been conducting daily virtual art lessons for our After School Arts Program students, as well as virtual Saturday art classes for kids and teens. We have been posting daily art challenges on social media since March 16th, and art activities and resources to our website. In addition to kids classes, adult virtual classes are now in the works and will be launched shortly!
We are grateful to see the Portside continue to grow in ways that we had not previously imagined. We thank those who have given us the support and resources we need in order to continue to fulfill our mission to the community. Thank you to the Philadelphia Cultural Fund for their support in helping us to achieve our goals of continuing programming online and planning for the future of Portside during this difficult period.
Summer is right around the corner, and Portside has many options for Summer Camp this year!
Portside’s Summer Camp Curriculum is focused on Empowering the Artists of Tomorrow. Portside will be offering 8 weeks of summer camp, beginning on June 22nd and ending on August 21st, and features two types of camp; Summer Art Camp and Summer Art Studio. Summer Art Camp occurs during the two weeks of June and two weeks of August, and involves a variety of different art forms and mediums throughout each week. Summer Art Studio, back by popular demand, takes place in July and features a different art form each week. The specialty camp for budding young artists includes weekly themes of Anime & Comics, STEAM & Robotics, Nature & Mindfulness, and Fashion, Fibers & Textiles. Families have the option to sign up for one week at a time or multiple, depending on their needs.
In both Summer Art Camp and Summer Art Studio, Portside students are introduced to the work of local and international artists and each week, and campers will visit Philadelphia’s local arts and cultural hotspots like the Fabric Workshop Museum, Franklin Institute, Please Touch Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
To accommodate parents' busy work schedules, Portside camp and care hours are similar to a regular school day, 8:30 am - 3:30 pm and offer before care at 7:30am and aftercare until 5:30pm. Portside offers a special sibling enrollment discount and an affordable monthly payment plan.
Art classes provide children with invaluable learning that has life long benefits. Learn about the importance of art in child development below:
Benefits of Art in Child Development
Motor Skills: Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children.
Language Development: For very young children, making art—or just talking about it—provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and actions.
Decision Making: The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life.
Visual Learning: Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.
Inventiveness: When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives.
Cultural Awareness: Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality.
Improved Academic Performance: A report by Americans for the Arts states that young people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate.
The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is in full swing at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, on its 6th day open to the public and closing on Sunday, March 8th. Portside received some very exciting news on Wednesday from the judges at the show…Our interiorscape, “The Living Room,” received 3rd place in the Interiorscape Class Competition! Portside’s staff and After School Arts Program students are over the moon with excitement, and the kids are feeling very proud of their accomplishments.
The interiorscape was designed and decorated by the Pirates (ages 8 - 11) during our After School Arts Program. They spent months creating floral arrangements, learning about sustainability, growing different varieties of plants, and exploring various recycled and repurposed materials and techniques. The kids were all asked to bring in recycled objects from home to repurpose as planters. We used objects including an old guitar, a teacup, and even a hollowed out vintage TV holding a medley of succulents and smaller plants. Many creative hands beyond the kids also contributed to the exhibit; We included an upholstered chair made by Upholstery alum Vilma Tirado, a chair made of twigs and sticks created by Portside’s Education Director Sarah’s father Salvatore Damiano, and a “fancy ottoman” made by Portside friend Bill Dankanis. Jesa Minnick, the Pirates Lead Teacher, who has a background in horticulture, was able to care for and maintain our beautiful display of plants that Portside got at Greensgrow Farms where Portside parent Meg DeBrito is the Executive Director.
The 10’x12’ room is vibrant, unique, and oozes with creativity. It gives the impression that it is a room in the home of an artist, which aligns with the intent written for the show: “This interiorscape is the setting for an eclectic person’s “Living Room.” The room includes Mediterranean inspired foliage in planters made of repurposed materials. The reclaimed materials such as the window frames and television console have been reconstructed to house plants to highlight the importance of recycling in our environment.”
During opening weekend at the Flower Show located at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City, many of the students from Portside visited the show to see their creations and the creations of their classmates among the other impressive exhibits and flower displays. Even the younger students who didn’t take part in the production begged their parents to visit the display with them and support their fellow Portside friends!