MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The delay in school starting allowed Funky Fun Art to extend its summer offerings into September and offer additional weeks of camp. Funky Fun Art in Maplewood welcomed more than 400 campers to its magical “Enchanted Forest” this summer. Campers, who were transformed into fairies, gnomes, elves, pixies, trolls and goblins, entered magical, colorful studios where they spent the day working on art projects and playing games. Fun theme weeks kept campers engaged all summer, as did daily surprises, including, messy paint explosions, YouTube videos, Jellyfish Day, slime and potions, Snow Cone Day and much more.
Funky Fun Art, which has more than 30 staff members, offers enrichment classes, workshops, summer camps, holiday workshops and a variety of special events throughout the year. Maplewood Art Director Denise Hayden loves to create a fun environment for children to explore and create at their own pace.
“Everyone needs a little more glitter in their lives,” Hayden said.
During the pandemic, Funky Fun Art was able to run all of its indoor programs safely and efficiently without sacrificing the fun. Given only two weeks by the state to prepare for a safe indoor summer program in 2020, Hayden was able to execute a plan that complied with all of the state guidelines and was one of the only indoor programs running last summer. As a result, the 2021 camp season sold out immediately when registration opened. Hayden was able to increase her camp capacity by 50 percent for 2021 and seamlessly and safely ran three studios simultaneously.
New fall classes have been announced and will begin Oct. 11 and year-round workshops take place when there is no school; though the November break is already sold out, fun new workshops are being planned for those days off in 2022.
Melissa Mancuso, director of community services for Maplewood, brought Hayden on board back in 2019 to bring more art programming to the community.
“The creativity coming out of Denise and her staff is endless. Every day is colorful and vibrant, and an instant mood elevator for campers and adults alike,” Mancuso said. “I loved the themes this summer and felt like I was in an enchanted forest during my visits. Allowing youth total creative license to create individual masterpieces and also work together collaborating with peers has been a dynamic addition to our Department of Community Services. Our campers learn to work together through creative differences and compromise, collectively creating magic. I look forward to the fall and winter offerings and all of Denise’s future plans.”
For more information about Funky Fun Art, reach out to Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos Courtesy of Melissa Mancuso