Naturally, we always love to celebrate the artwork of our young students at the Portside, but this month especially, because it’s National Youth Art Month! For the occasion, Portside students were able to experience the thrill of having their artwork displayed in Portside’s Gallery at Cherry Street Pier, and got to visit the opening on First Friday to proudly show off their beautiful creations.
The children’s epoxy, colored mica and acrylic pour paintings are displayed alongside the artwork of Kim Creighton. Kim is the Founding Director of the Portside Arts Center, as well as the March and half of April’s Artist in Residence at Portside’s Cherry Street Pier studio gallery #12. Kim is a multimedia artist specializing in welding, sculpture, mosaic, painting, and collage, and her latest work includes exquisite acrylic and epoxy pour paintings. She wanted to share her technique with the children who attend Portside Creative Classroom, a daily in-person full day program at the Portside in which local elementary school children partake in their virtual schooling. The children were inspired and mesmerized by the process of pour painting, and created epoxy pour paintings on old vinyl records, which were then placed in a spin art machine to create unique effects!
Kim is the first of Portside’s Artists in Residence to create artwork with the children. Artists in Residence are selected artists in the Portside community who have the opportunity to create new work at Portside’s studio space at Cherry Street Pier, and to showcase their artwork to the public during this time. Moving forward, each Artist in Residence will teach Portside students about their artistic practices and techniques, and will facilitate a project with the children inspired by their own body of work made during their residencies.
This new partnership comes at a vital time in the lives of the children and the artists, as all of our lives have shifted dramatically over the past year. Children have struggled with the concept and technical aspects of virtual schooling. We strive to relieve their stress with daily art practice as a way to relax them and ignite their creative minds. Working with and being inspired by professional artists as well as hanging their work for their friends and families to see in a public space is an exhilarating, confidence building and a powerful experience for the children. Children learn problem solving and critical thinking skills when creating or observing art, which can carry over to other parts of their lives including coping with stress.
We look forward to continuing to inspire their young minds each and every day!
You can help to make them proud by visiting their artwork at Studio #12 at Cherry Street Pier.
I think it’s safe to say that we’re all eager for this school year to end, and for the sunny days ahead of us! Portside has big plans for the summer, launching a new series of weekly summer camps. This year, we have eight weeks of camp, each with a different theme! We are expanding our programming to explore various art forms including visual arts, performing arts, and the art of music. Families have the option to sign up for just one week of camp, or as many as they'd like to work with their summer schedules.
Campers will work with a wide range of art materials, and will learn that the term “art” goes beyond just visual arts, and includes all types of creative expression. They will have the chance to make their own stop motion animations, create pinhole cameras, learn about the construction of the Great Pyramids of Egypt, develop their own characters and comics, and so much more! This enriching and multidisciplinary experience will leave your child wanting to learn more.
Campers will be able to experience socialization with other children their age, which many children have been missing over this past school year with virtual schooling. They will have the opportunity to socialize and play with friends during structured free time, while being encouraged to maintain a safe distance from one another to ensure safety.
We are lucky to be so close to Penn Treaty Park, where the children will be able to go multiple times a week. During Nature & Mindfulness week, the children will spend their days at the park where they’ll create environmental art and partake in mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation. We will also bring the children to other outdoor nature areas such as Bartram’s Garden and John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. We hope to expand our field trip options beyond outdoor areas, but will be complying with current CDC recommendations and guidelines to keep our campers and staff safe.
During this time, the Portside will continue following safety protocols and procedures to keep your kids & Portside’s team safe. These include Air Purification throughout the facility, smaller group sizes, temperature checks upon arrival, extensive cleaning of the facility, and more.
Check out our weekly themes below:
Week 1: Nature & Mindfulness June 21st - June 25th
Week 2: Murals & Public Art June 28th - July 2nd
Week 3: Anime, Comics & Superheroes July 5th - July 9th
Week 4: Photo & Video Arts July 12th - July 16th
Week 5: The Art of Music July 26th - July 30th
Week 6: Art Around the World August 2nd - August 6th
Week 7: Theater Arts August 9th - August 13th
Week 8: The Basics of Sculpture August 16th - August 20th
Portside Arts Center is pleased to announce Penn Treaty Special Services District (PTSSD) has awarded Portside a grant of $20,500 for 2021 programming. This grant will provide scholarships for new and returning students to attend Portside Creative Classroom throughout the remainder of the school year and our Summer Arts Camp beginning in June.
These funds come at a time when many families are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet desperately need childcare during these immensely challenging times. Thanks to PTSSD, families can be partially released of the financial burden that events of this past year may have unexpectedly caused.
The past year has brought about many unprecedented changes and circumstances for families in the River Wards community. With the news of schools in the Philadelphia School District remaining closed indefinitely, families were left with little options regarding childcare and support with virtual learning for their children. Some children are new to school and also the technology requirements for virtual learning purposes. Parents were desperate for a solution that ensures their children are learning and in a safe environment. Many parents had the predicament of choosing to go to work to provide income to their families, or to stay home with their children to help them navigate the new structure of virtual learning.
With the tremendous support from PTSSD, Portside Arts Center is now able to provide a solution to families in the River Wards by introducing Creative Classroom; a daily in-person program where children are assisted with their schoolwork, able to socialize with friends, and instructed in arts education for a portion of each day.
With last year’s funding from PTSSD specifically to go towards children’s scholarships, Portside has been able to award monthly scholarships for 24 children to attend Portside’s Creative Classroom. Going forward into the new year, we now can continue to award families with scholarships, and with plans to expand our programming to River Ward families with limited resources.
PTSSD has shown unwavering support to Portside Arts Center throughout the years. They are a beacon of light in the River Wards community during these dark times and have helped non-profit organizations like Portside improve programming and remain a bright spot in the community.