SuperKids Camp’s Garden Art

It looks like my wish for more tours came true. This past Monday, the Perch got a visit from the bookmaking, mural, and pottery classes at SuperKids Camp’s Stadium School site. SuperKids Camp is a Parks & People program designed to give Baltimore kids an affordable summer camp experience, complete with fun activities, reading and math lessons, transportation, and meals. Each site specializes in a different activity, and the Stadium School campers are doing visual arts. One of their instructors, Helen Elliott, called me last week to ask if they could come visit the Blue Jay’s Perch and do some sketches of the fruits and vegetables for their art projects. Naturally, I said yes.

The campers came in three chaperoned groups, divided by which kind of art they were doing, and they arrived with pencils, paper, and wide-eyed wonder. I could barely keep up answering their questions about what was growing where, who took care of what, and what the more alien produce tasted like. Every once in a while, somebody’s curiosity got the better of them; a piercing shriek would echo through the garden as a startled bug landed on an artist-in-training. During one of the groups’ visits, our lovely gardener Amanda came in to harvest tomatoes and water her plot. As an inquisitive flock of children suddenly materialized, she kindly showed them her treasures and explained what each kind of tomato was.

I was pleased to see how excited the campers were. I got the feeling that they saw their visit to this place as a special privilege, and I’m excited that we can be a fun place for people young and old to come to. (It’s an especially great feeling with our stop on the Charm City Farm and Garden Tour coming up in just three days!) My favorite part of the day was seeing how amazed the campers were by the height of the sunflowers. One of the photos shows a couple of boys who decided that the biggest of them looked like a shower head, and then started dancing around underneath it and pretending to wash up. It’s wonderful to see someone awed by the size of a sunflower, and humbling to remember that there’s a whole world of city kids out there who deserve to experience being dwarfed by a sunflower, and to see what can come out of the dirt with a little bit of coaxing. One of the girls, when she had finished her sketches, informed me that we had “LOTS of good food.” Right she is.

If you want to see the final art projects that these sketches are leading to, the show will be at MICA (1300 Mount Royal Avenue) in the basement of the main building, on Thursday, August 2nd, from 1-2:30.

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