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Making Friends and Learning in Summer Art Camps

We are so grateful to have gotten to know so many amazing children, parents, and guardians in our summer art camp program.

Our philosophy of education is centered in Montessori practice, and it is so beautiful to see students of all ages learning, growing, and connecting with us.

Some beautiful moments that we've witnessed:

Artists making friends and laughing together - one seven-year-old today came in and her Mom said she was shy, by the end of the session she had four new friends and was comfortable and laughing.

Relaxing and tuning into art-making - adult students often come into class from work or home, where things can be hectic with schedules. Within minutes of starting a warm up lesson and digging into the art work, as we listen to classical music, and slowly paint with brushes, they are sharing that they are relaxed and so glad to be here with us.

Deep learning - we actively teach language of art and design and also art history. In our young artists series, we read books on Jacob Lawrence and noted his use of line and color. Playing games to find all of the red, blue, yellow, we noted that these were primary colors. We shared warm colors and cool colors, and shared how different lines change the composition. At the end of one class, one three year old turned to another and remarked that they "LOVED their thick cool colors" that they used.

"I love how the instructor made everyone feel comfortable. Drawing is something I have wanted to get better at for a long time, and I feel like I can do it now. I feel like I see things differently now. I see like an artist."

- Adult Student

It has been an amazing five months as an organization. We are so excited about the art classes we have this summer and the art classes and events that we are planning for the fall. Grand Rapids is a great town for sharing these classes, but it is also incredible to offer online courses and opportunities so artists all over the country can connect and find new friends together.

We connect. We grow. We learn. We cultivate. Together.

We hope to see you in a course or event soon. It is such a joy to create this space of care, community, and art with you all. It is a joy to witness the learning and community getting stronger.

Thank you for all of the support and love so far. We appreciate all of supporters, partners, donors, volunteers, staff, and most of all, our new friends - who you all are now.


Written by Mallory Shotwell, director of Cultivate.

Cultivate is an arts organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cultivate offers a contemporary art gallery, art classes for ages 3-adult, and an artist resource center.

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