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Dancing Paintbrush Studio (Berkeley, CA)
My (now 9 year old) daughter has attended Dancing Paintbrush Summer Camp for the last 2 years (several sessions each summer) and she will be there again this year. The studio is warm and welcoming and the days are structured to support focused attention on art. The wonderful director (Beth) is a lifelong artist and a parent. She cares about teaching art and making the days enjoyable for the students. This is a serious art immersion experience, not a typical arts and crafts camp. I asked my daughter what she would like to say about Dancing Paintbrush and she said ''It is a place where you can sit and relax and paint and not worry about other things. There aren't very many rules, Beth is nice, they serve snacks including strawberries, and there is a dog named Chessie you can pet.'' Jill D.
I knew and admired Beth as an artist and human being for years before sending my daughter Sophia (8 YO) to her Dancing Paintbrush Art Camp for the past few summers; Sophia has also attended during some school holidays. Beth is an extraordinarily gifted professional artist (she's a painter, photographer and videographer) who is also, amazingly, a really gifted, inspiring, generous and loving teacher of children. She loves teaching kids, and it shows. (She once volunteered to come to my daughter's after-school garden class to instruct them in painting pictures of sunflowers, just for fun--a measure of her generous spirit.) She has taught art at the Crowden school and elsewhere and knows how to provide the right combination of structure, inspiration, great materials, helpful bits of art history, and celebrating and enabling kids' individual vision. She has been traveling the world the past 2 years, working on an extraordinary art project that she can tell you about (!) and she comes home I think with even more inspiration and delight in the kids. Her studio is cozy and light-filled, and her sweet and mellow golden retriever Chessie provides fun companionship for the kids (he is also a very tolerant live model for their paintings!). Sophia loves art-making and loves her camp. I feel blessed to have Beth Hird and Dancing Paintbrush in our lives. Lori
Beth is a wonderful art teacher and is one of those people that kids gravitate to. The atmosphere is relaxed, with not more that 7-8 kids per day, all ages together, maybe age 4 to 14 or so. My daughter has learned so much, even without a super obvious structure, just lots of ideas and freedom to explore all the art supplies!
They do outings to the vivarium, parks and other active spots, but most of the focus is on art (and rolling around with the sweet golden retriever!). It's really a beautiful sunny place, and I'm so glad to know that Lilia is being taught and inspired in a setting that still preserves that ''summer-time feeling''. Lisa
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