Summer Art Camp

Introduce your children to the world of art through Summer Art Camps at the DAI. Campers explore the museum with fun gallery games, new interdisciplinary art lessons, creative art projects and more. These half-day or week-long camps, taking place during June, July and August, are tailored to a variety of age groups and feature many different art activities.

Children will learn and get inspired by the museum’s collection and create their own masterpieces using 2D and 3D art-making techniques in our studios. Kids entering 1st grade through 9th grade will have fun all summer long in weekly, mixed-media art camps.

Summer Art Camp

1st-3rd Grade

Campers entering grades 1, 2 and 3 in the fall

June 24–June 28 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Morning session: Art FUNdamentals Lab: Dots, Lines and Shapes

  • Connect the dots to discover how a line drawing can shape up into anything imaginable with only a few steps! Students will learn and experiment with the many types of lines and shapes that artists use to create drawings, paintings and sculptures. From zig-zag lines to zebras and zentangles, this hands-on lab will bring out the FUN of fundamental skills for your young artist.

1:00-4:00 p.m. Afternoon session: Colorful Combinations and Creations Lab

  • Mix and match color, creativity and imagination to create a chromatic world full of wonder! In this lab, students are encouraged to experiment with color and color combinations across a variety of vibrant mediums including painting, collage, sculpture and much more! From learning how to mix custom colors to learning how to see and identify specific colors in nature, students will gain an understanding of color as a form of expression, emotion and new ways to engage with the world around them.

Aug 5–Aug 9 

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Morning session: Awesome Animals and Impressive Insects

  • Learn new facts and features about animals, insects and their environmental habitats while going on a visual safari in the museum! Students will create a variety of 2D and 3D projects inspired by the animals and habitats they encounter in the paintings and sculptures in the museum’s collection. We’re not lion—this is going to be the purrfect opportunity for your little animal lover!

1:00-4:00 p.m. Afternoon session: Cosmic and Creative Nature Camp

  • Nurture your creative nature, go on an artistic adventure and sketch stellar scenery in this natural exploration of our own world and the world of outer space! Students will learn and experience how artists use nature both as an inspiration and as a tool to create a variety of artworks and interstellar ideas. From plants to the planets and from pencils to paintbrushes, students’ imaginations will be sparked to seek connections between the wonderful worlds of nature on display in the museum and the beauty of nature in their own backyard. Make some space for this journey to the cosmos that starts in the museum’s sculpture garden.
Summer Art Camp

4th-6th Grade

Campers entering grades 4, 5 and 6 in the fall

July 8–July 12 

9:00-12:00 Morning session: Full STEAM ahead: Science and Art Camp

  • Watch worlds collide through the power of math, science, technology and the arts! Students will learn innovative ways to use math and science skills through creative problem-solving and experimentation while creating original works of art that engage and encourage out-of-the-box thinking. From architecture to zoology, geometric abstraction to planetary exploration, students will create paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that examine and exemplify the creative sparks within each of us and in every field of study.

1:00-4:00 Afternoon session: Robots, Doodles and Droids

  • Yes, these are the droids you are looking for! Take your science fiction fan on a trek that engages both artistic discovery and engineering skills that are out of this world! Students will learn how to build their very own ART2D2, a doodling droid that loves to draw colorful abstract art. In addition to designing their own droid, students will also create many more works inspired by science fiction, outer space, modern art, and design.

July 29–Aug 2 

9:00 a.m.–12 p.m. Morning session: Comical Creatures with Fantastic Features

  • Turn your dreams into realities through the imaginative and Surreal experiences of this camp! After studying the features of an array of animals, students will create their own fantasy creatures by combining animals with their imagination. Experimentation, along with a lot of laughter, is strongly encouraged while students explore their ideas through drawing, collage, sculpture and much more!

1:00–4:00 p.m. Afternoon session: Thinking Inside the Box: Dynamic Dioramas and Recycled Retrofittings

  • Create small worlds with big ideas in this fun-filled camp! Students will use recycled and repurposed materials to build detailed dioramas that display imaginary worlds and artful architecture that sets the stage for super stories. Unlock new creative potentials using a variety of recycled techniques in sculpture, collage, painting and much more!
Summer Art Camp

7th-9th Grade

Campers entering grades 7, 8 and 9 in the fall

July 15–July 19 (12-17yrs old, 7-9th Grade)

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Morning session: Careers for Creators: Your Start in the Arts

  • Interested in the arts and want to learn how to turn it into a career? This is the camp for you! Delve into hands-on lessons designed to build and strengthen artistic skill sets and knowledge while meeting artists and other arts professionals in their chosen fields. Build a portfolio and gain expertise and helpful advice for your future career goals! All levels of experience and talent are welcome. Specific topics of interest include fine art and graphic design, illustration, architecture, visual communication, gallery installation and much more!

1:00-4:00 p.m. Afternoon session: Picture This: Photography Camp

  • A picture says a thousand words, so we’ll keep this description short. You, a camera and a multitude of photographic subjects await you for this one-of-a-kind photography class! Learn photographic composition skills while studying great works of art in the museum. Explore how the worlds of photography, printmaking and painting can be combined to create unique works of art. Take a shot at this class to learn how to take a selfie to the next level and discover how to capture moments in time so that they can last forever.

July 22–July 26 (12-17yrs old, 7-9th Grade)

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Morning session: Sketching in Style: Fashionable Illustrations and Character Creations

  • Become quite the character with this innovative and illustrative camp that explores storyboarding, fashion design, character design, creative writing, comic creation and exploring your own sense of style! Students will learn drawing and painting techniques from an illustrative perspective to create and develop characters, icons, artist trading cards and designs that visually communicate stories, emotions and ideas. All levels of drawing experience are welcome. Discussion of video games, comic books, board games and movies is encouraged.

1:00-4:00 p.m. Afternoon session: Small but Mighty: Mixed Media Miniatures Sculpture Camp

  • Learn the big ideas behind making small sculptures! Students will create miniatures in cardboard, clay, metal and more to develop dioramas, custom figures, Surrealistic creatures, artful jewelry, imaginative board games and much more! While exploring the many miniature works in the museum’s collection, including the Japanese miniature art form of netsuke and South American works in gold and clay, students will see that their world of possibilities may not be that small after all!

Frequently Asked Camp Questions

How soon should I register?

Early registration is encouraged to ensure space in the camp of your choice. Once camp sessions are full your child’s name can be placed on a waiting list. Online registration typically begins in April. Watch our website for updates and more information.

Are scholarships available?

Yes, there are a limited number of need-based scholarships available each year. You may call 937-223-5277, ext. 335 or email artcamp@daytonart.org with questions or for more information.

Can my child attend more than one session?

Yes, you may register your child for both the morning and afternoon sessions. 

How old does my child need to be to attend camp?

Campers must be entering the grade level listed in the fall of that year to enroll in each camp.

What is the class size?

Each class is limited to 15 students.

Who teaches the classes?

Classes are taught by professional art teachers.


What is the Art Party?

Families are invited to join their child for cookies and punch to celebrate the artwork their child made during the week. The morning session art parties are on Fridays at 11:30 a.m. The afternoon session art parties are on Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Families with students in both sessions are welcome to come to both art parties. 

What should my camper wear?

Dress for a mess!

Should I pack my child a lunch?

Children enrolled in both morning and afternoon sessions of Summer Art Camp should bring a sack lunch, a drink or water bottle. Students will be given a 45-minute lunch break in between sessions. Students attending only the morning or the afternoon sessions can bring a water bottle.

Where does camp take place?

All classes take place in the museum studios, classrooms and/or galleries.

Where will my child eat lunch?

Campers will eat lunch inside in classrooms or outside in the sculpture garden, weather permitting. Sunscreen is recommended!

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