There is perhaps nothing more “Burlington” than a painted metal door in a South End walk-up that leads to a working art studio. And just in case you don’t have an outright lifestyle experience walking up the 4 short flights of artists-live-here stairs, you won’t be disappointed upon entering Wingspan Studio in 4A.
The kids call her Ms. Maggie and I’ll leave her credentials to speak for themselves here on the Wingspan Studio website (Um, Paris, Budapest, Camaroon. Shelburne!) Her studio is pleasantly lived in and is oozing with that “please touch” quality that every parent utters a grateful bless you at the sight of.
The truth of it is, my 5 year old son is just plain not that into art. I mean, he can really appreciate an illustrated book about race cars and those were conceived by an artist, right? So when I got the opportunity to send him to Maggie Standley’s Poetry, Printing, Watercolors, Yoga, and Nature camp, I decided that expanding his horizons would be a worthwhile way for him to spend a week.
Maggie has prepared each day with a different theme from nature. The kids are encouraged to create freely with different materials, experimenting with watercolors, mobile making, fruit and veggie stamping, and painting. There is a time each day for movement with a certified yoga instructor, Rachel Daley. They also spend a good bit of time outdoors where they picnic, explore nature, and just plain run (thank goodness).
This was my kid’s first venture into the world of summer camps and I guess I just didn’t know what to expect.
Every morning he was enthused about going, and every afternoon he chatted away about what he did that day. If that was the only measuring stick I had for this experience, I could have deemed it a success.
But I did get the chance to spend some time with Maggie and the campers and here is what sets this camp apart:
Diversity among campers
The ages ranged from 5 to about 12 (I’m guessing). I appreciated this distinction in a world where our kids are often only interacting with their peers and don’t get the opportunity to learn from or teach kids of varying ages.
Free form structure
Ok, I just made that up. I love the slightly chaotic creation that happens when you give kids parameters and then take a giant step back and let ’em at it. There is no hovering, no micro-correcting, little specific instruction when it comes to the art activity, and a whole lot of listening to ideas and affirming good choices. The kids have a lot of room to create art and adapt the projects the way they like.
Whether it was through the art projects, in the yoga poses, or the choice of books, songs, games, and snacks, Maggie very naturally taught the kids about making healthy choices. I appreciate any reinforcement I get in this area. Can I get an amen?
I swear I would have keeled over and died to go to art camp as a kid and learn from a no-joke artist like Maggie. I got to peek into her no-kids-allowed space where she does her work and see some of her amazing canvases. She has been doing this for more than 25 years and is one of the few people on earth who can answer the question, “so, what do you do?” with a wave of the hand and an “Oh, I’m an artist.”
Alright, so here we are–early summer and your kids are wild with expectations for you to show them what to do with a whole twelve hours of daylight.
It is not too late to enroll them in a week of summer camp with Maggie at Wingspan Studio, and I suggest you do just that!
She is offering a total of 7 weeks of camp, each with a different theme like writing, French, painting, cartooning, math, clay, drama, and more. For more details, visit the Wingspan Studio website. It gets even better, because she is also offering all BVTMB readers a chance to get 25% off any camp! Just tell her we sent you!
*While the BVTMB team received compensation for this post, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own.