Reintroducing In Person Arts Programming

New children's museum summer camps

The New Children’s Museum is known for its immersive, full-scale art installations as well as hands-on art-making experiences for children. During the pandemic closure, many of the Museum’s art programs were placed on hold or reimagined as virtual content. Since reopening last summer, the Museum has gradually reintroduced its art programs for visitors to enjoy in person again.

“During the closure, we focused on virtual learning, providing online art-making resources and kits for students and families,” The New Children’s Museum’s Executive Director and CEO, Elizabeth Yang-Hellewell shared with GB Magazine. “As children have returned to school and outside activities, we are pleased to be supplementing their learning with creative and interactive experiences through our arts-based educational programming.”

Shortly after reopening, the Museum brought back Toddler Time, its popular weekly program focused on toddler development through storytelling, music-making, movement and sensory art exploration. Toddler Time was the first program to go virtual, with weekly videos posted on the Museum’s website and social media channels for at-home participation. Classes are currently held every Friday, free with admission.

In January, the Museum relaunched its school visit program supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which had also gone virtual during the pandemic with kits containing an instructional video tour, lesson plans and art supplies for schools to pick up. The Museum is currently welcoming multiple school groups each week at their downtown location, while still making virtual kits available as an alternative.

New this year is a focus on early literacy learning through a grant from the Dr. Seuss Foundation. The Reading Two-Gether Author Visit series has featured live readings with Penguinaut! author Marcie Colleen and The Day You Begin illustrator Rafael López. The next Author Visit is April 22 with author Matthew de la Peña reading Milo Imagines the World. As part of a collaboration with Words Alive San Diego and UCSD Extension, this reading will be livestreamed to schools throughout San Diego, with students participating in a creative writing and art project that will then be exhibited at the Museum.

“Our arts education programs provide creative hands-on learning and play experiences for children that are especially needed after two years of staying home or doing hybrid schooling. Children can socialize with one another as they learn new social and emotional skills through art and literacy,” said the Museum’s Director of Arts Education, Amy Gray.

Beginning in June, the Museum will host summer camps for the first time in two years. The program includes eight weeks of all-day camps (June 20-August 19) at its downtown location and four weeks of half-day camps (July 5-29) at its Art + Play Space location in Del Mar. Mindful of the financial challenge camps may present for some families, the Museum has partnered with U.S. Bank to sponsor 12 camp scholarships that will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who qualify based on financial need.

Additional support for the Museum’s art programming is provided by: COX Communication, Nordson Corporation Foundation, Qualcomm, The Conrad Prebys Foundation, David C. Copley Foundation, Hervey Family Fund at The San Diego Foundation, The Rice Family Foundation, Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, City of San Diego and The New Children’s Museum’s Board of Directors.

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Esteban Villanueva