Students are drawn to summer art program – year after year


For some students, participating in Baltimore County Public Schools’ Summer Visual Arts Enrichment Program each year is as much a summer tradition as swimming and cookouts.

"I've attended this camp for six years,” says Olivia Dias, a Grade 12 student at Hereford High School, “sometimes choosing to come here over other summer camps.”


The camp, scheduled for July 6-17 this year, was held at Perry Hall High School and served 134 students in Grades 3-12. Almost a third of the students had participated in the camp before.

One middle school student, Raliegh K., says, "I come back because being with others who draw and paint and make art with the same passion is fun, and I like all the styles."

The camp provided an opportunity for students to develop and refine personal art skills via five-hour studio sessions and an art-related field trip. This year, elementary and middle school participants traveled to the Baltimore Museum of Art to study and sketch images of animals created by famous artists. High school participants visited Hampton Mansion to study and paint landscapes.


The program offered three courses: An Exploration of Artists and Their Materials for students entering Grades 3-5, An Exploration of New Art Forms and Materials for students entering Grades 6-8, and A Portfolio Development Course for students entering Grades 9-12.

Tyler Bryan, a Grade 12 student at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, attended the camp for a third year.

"Every year I attend, I see growth in my work and me as an artist,” he says. “The atmosphere students are put in is amazing as there is a sole focus on art – no other classes, no big projects, just making art.”


The program was staffed by BCPS art teachers, including one retired teacher. Lori Beth Fawkes of Sandy Plains Elementary and Eileen Fitzgerald of Glenmar Elementary were the program directors and also taught elementary students along with Sam Georgieff of Cockeysville Middle. Middle school students were taught by Cheryl Milligan of Towson High, Joe Cypressi of George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, and Sam Tillman of Hereford High. The teachers for high school students were Terry Shovlin of George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Joanne Bare of Hereford High, and retired BCPS teacher Mike Bare.

“What makes this camp so great are the fantastic teachers who really make it their mission seek out one's potential and point them in the right direction,” said Bryan. “Being grouped with an entire room of individuals who share my passion really helps create a truly enriched environment."


Added Dias: “The teachers are fantastic, and the emphasis on learning and development is great. Critiquing your progress at the end of camp is what makes this camp special. We create so much art work in just two weeks.”

Many students, including Dias, have devoted their time at the camp to creating pieces for use in their Advanced Placement art portfolios.

“I was able to use six of those pieces in my Advanced Placement portfolio, which I completed in my junior year,” says Dias. “It would have been much more difficult for me to earn a five on my portfolio if I hadn’t attended this wonderful camp."


For many, “wonderful” doesn’t come close to capturing the value of the camp. Middle school student Prasanna V. in particular summed up the program this way: "If you search art camp in the dictionary, you'll find that this is the best camp EVER."

For more information on the BCPS Summer Visual Arts Enrichment Program, visit For more information on other BCPS art programs, visit the Office of Visual Arts’ website at



Photos courtesy of Farrell Maddox, supervisor, Office of Visual Arts
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