Maplewood’s funky fun art brings the magic

From the Maplewood Recreation Division

The delay of the start of the school year allowed Funky Fun Art to extend our summer until September and to offer additional weeks of camp! Funky Fun Art welcomed over 400 campers to our magical “enchanted forest” this summer! Campers have been transformed into fairies, gnomes, elves, goblins, trolls and goblins! They walked into magical and colorful studios where they spent the day working on art projects and playing games! Fun theme weeks kept campers engaged all summer long and every day was full of new surprises to keep the kids on their toes! We’ve had Messy Paint Explosion, YouTube videos, Jellyfish Day, Slime & Potions, Snow Cone Day, and many more! We have over 30 staff who create the FUN in Funky Fun Art, year round. Funky Fun Art offers enrichment classes, workshops, summer camps, vacation workshops and a variety of special events throughout the year! Maplewood Artistic Director Denise Hayden loves to create a fun environment for kids to explore and create at their own pace. She encourages everyone to let their imaginations run wild and will try to help create anything they can dream of! Denise says, “Everyone needs a little more SPARKLE in their life!

While the pandemic was a hindrance for many, Funky Fun Art was able to run all of its indoor programs safely and efficiently during the pandemic without sacrificing fun! Since the state was given only two weeks to prepare for a safe indoor summer program in 2020, Denise was able to execute a plan that exceeded all state guidelines and was one of the only indoor programs running last summer. She was able to have such a successful 2020 season that her 2021 camp season ran out iat once when she announced that she would go ahead with the same safety guidelines for the coming summer. Denise was able to safely increase her camp capacity by fifty percent for 2021 and simultaneously managed three studios seamlessly! Big things are in store for the summer of 2022, as planning begins immediately to ensure that we are constantly evolving and becoming the best art camp possible! Without saying too much, let’s just say “Under the Sea is the Place to be! Looking forward to all the returning faces and hopefully new additions to the Funky Fun Art family!

New fall courses have been announced and will start October 11! Look forward to comic book creations, YouTube skits, hand sewing and guided painting! Smaller classes allow for personal attention and a very personalized, personalized experience! Workshops all year round take place when there is no school! While the November break is currently full, there are some fun new workshops planned for these days off in 2022! Look for the ad next month! Also keep an eye out for our fun holiday workshops! We have a witch workshop in October, a fairy workshop in January, and so many fun surprises coming up in December!

Melissa Mancuso, Director of Community Services at Maplewood, brought Denise back on board in 2019 to bring more artistic programming to the community. Her support and guidance has helped Funky Fun Art grow to allow even more students access to affordable art classes. “The creativity of Denise and her team is endless. Each day is colorful and vibrant, and an instant mood lift for campers and adults alike. I loved the themes this summer and felt like I was in an enchanted forest when I visited. Allowing young people to create full creative license to create individual masterpieces and also work together collaborating with their peers has been a dynamic addition to our community service department. Our campers learn to work together through creative differences and compromises, collectively creating magic! I look forward to the fall and winter offerings and all of Denise’s future plans, ”said Melissa Mancuso, Township Community Services Manager.

In addition to the amazing classes, Denise offers fun family activities and art classes for seniors all year round! She created the Maplewood Virtual Egg Hunt to allow families to participate safely at home during the pandemic. She also created monthly Senior Sunshine art kits which were delivered to seniors in the community. Sing for Seniors, a community volunteer program that allowed residents to sign up and be assigned a local elder to safely distance themselves and sing in their homes during the holidays has boosted morale during the pandemic. Chalk your walk, Colorful Maplewood, make sure you are counted, sensory friendly day, breakfast with Santa and tree lighting are just a few of the many activities she helps organize in the community . She enjoys fun and engaging art experiences and invites the community to send her any ideas or suggestions!

Funky Fun Art is an amazing experience for kids thanks to the phenomenal staff who bring the MAGIC every day! Staff members understand how important it is to listen to the needs and wants of children when planning a fun and personalized experience for them! Many of the staff at Funky Fun Art are former campers and students, which says a lot about the culture Denise was able to cultivate. Funky Fun Art is always looking to add talented people to our staff of over 30! You must love children and have a genuine love for arts and crafts and want to share that with others! If you would like to join the team, please contact Denise: [email protected]

About Edward Fries

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