Tampa Bay summer art classes and camps begin in June

School’s in for summer.

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click to enlarge Tampa Bay summer art classes and camps begin in June
Courtesy of the Dunedin Fine Art Center

Whether you’re looking for a summer art project for yourself or your kids, there are plenty of options to choose from here in the Tampa Bay area. Most summer art classes and camps begin around June 3. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to go on your community art center’s web page and see what’s available this summer. Here’s where you and your kids can make some art:

The Dunedin Fine Art Center

The Dunedin Fine Art Center is overrun with kids and adults every summer, and for good reason. No one can match the number and breadth of the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s visual arts classes, and now they offer cooking classes, too. 

Growing up in north Pinellas, most of what I learned about art I learned at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. Of all the summer camps my parents enrolled me in, DFAC’s summer camp was my favorite. Sign your kid up before June 3.    

click to enlarge Tampa Bay summer art classes and camps begin in June
Courtesy of the Dunedin Fine Art Center

Summer art classes for adults also begin June 3, with a second summer session beginning July 15. DFAC has 52 art classes and 34 workshops for adults this summer. Seventeen of these are painting classes. This is definitely the place to learn to paint in Tampa Bay, but that’s not all. You can learn to write calligraphy, work with clay, create your own website, take better photographs, learn to draw in four hours, design a quilt, make jewelry or master mixed media.

Many of DFAC’s 60 artist-educators exhibit their work in Tampa Bay galleries.

click to enlarge Nathan Beard's Pond's Edge drawings and paintings are every reason we're excited about his Wetland to Studio art class at DFAC. - Nathan Beard
Nathan Beard
Nathan Beard's Pond's Edge drawings and paintings are every reason we're excited about his Wetland to Studio art class at DFAC.

Walk through Dunedin's Hammock Park with Nathan Beard, then turn your nature observations into works of art as part of Beard’s “Wetland to Studio class.” Beard’s nature-inspired Pond’s Edge series is currently on display at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art through June 2.

Sondra Elder, who's teaching crystalline glazing at DFAC this summer, was one of 15 emerging artists at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts this year.

Jeremiah Khokhar, of Cleargram fame, is teaching a photography class.

click to enlarge Don Williams pottery - Don Williams, via Instagram @fishpaint5
Don Williams, via Instagram @fishpaint5
Don Williams pottery

The Morean Arts Center

The Morean Arts Center is the place to take summer art classes in St. Pete. They have classes in almost every medium imaginable, but specialize in glass and clay.

This summer, they're holding seven different classes at the Morean Center for Clay. A couple are for beginners, but if you’re looking to throw taller, check out Don Williams’ class Throwing Taller on the Wheel. Williams’ pottery is sold in galleries throughout the state of Florida. He is more than qualified to help you make the ceramic vase of your dreams.

You know what else you can make with clay? Tiles. Elle Leonard’s Tiles and Murals class will teach you how to carve and stamp your own designs into clay to make your own handmade tiles. Perfect for that bathroom remodel you keep putting off.

Beyond clay, you can learn how to take better photographs with Lance Rothstein, whose work is in Fresh Squeezed 3. Jen Dupree is teaching a new class in digital painting for those of you who want to try drawing on your tablet. Art Lofts artist Rebecca Skelton is teaching Figure Drawing, Brenda Gregory of Creatives Exchange is teaching three jewelry-making classes, and Barry Goodman is teaching a brand new Intro to Printmaking class. Plus, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to master the art of glassblowing at the Morean Glass Studio.

Check their website for a complete list of art classes and summer camps, most beginning June 3, with a second session starting July 22. 

Carrollwood Cultural Center

Carrollwood Cultural Center offers classes in visual art, performing art, music and language everything we’d consider cultured.

They have some interesting options this summer too, including a ballet class for adults over 30 with “little or no past experience" and two beginning pottery classes one for seniors and one for teens.

click to enlarge Tampa Bay summer art classes and camps begin in June
Gainor Roberts, via Dunedin Fine Art Center

Gainor Roberts, whose Genesis series was exhibited at the Dunedin Fine Art Center last year, teaches painting here. We’re big fans of her colorful, detailed still lifes, especially when she’s painting fruits and vegetables.

Kids’ summer camps begin June 3. There are 10 to choose from and several are already sold out, so we’re guessing they don’t suck.

Safety Harbor Art & Music Center

The Safety Harbor Art & Music Center is hosting four consecutive weeklong summer camps this June. Each week is devoted to a different art week 1 is for writing, week 2 is for funky mixed-media art, week 3 is a mini theater camp, and week 4 is mosaics and more.

The Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts

The Patel Conservatory specializes in the performing arts, especially musical theater, as one would expect from the Straz Center. It’s the perfect place for you or your kid to learn to act, dance, sing, or play a musical instrument. 

click to enlarge Jazz Intensive class at Patel Conservatory — available this summer. - Courtesy of the Patel Conservatory
Courtesy of the Patel Conservatory
Jazz Intensive class at Patel Conservatory — available this summer.

They have 17 one-week music camps this summer for kids and teens ages 4-18, including a new opera camp

click to enlarge Tampa Bay summer art classes and camps begin in June
Courtesy of Patel Conservatory

Kids and teens can hone their acting skills in one of four production camps. Teens who pass auditions can star in a production of Disney’s Newsies, give Shakespearean acting a try, or prepare for a career on Broadway with a two-week Broadway Intensive workshop. Youngsters ages 8-14 can cut their teeth on Annie, Jr.

Patel Conservatory also has 13 week-long musical theater camps for kids and teens ages 4-18. You’re never too old to try musical theater — Patel Conservatory also offers an eight-week musical theater class for adults.


In addition to community art centers, our local art museums all offer at least one summer camp for the kiddos.

The Dalí Museum is hosting a weeklong art camp where kids ages 9-14 can learn more about Dalí’s artwork and how to interpret art in general.

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete is offering two summer camps. One combines art with marine science and yoga (for 2nd-6th graders). The other camp, new this year, focuses on female empowerment (for 6th-9th graders).

The James Museum has three weeklong summer camps for kids (ages 6-12) where they can explore the museum’s collection and make some artwork of their own.

The Tampa Museum of Art has 18 summer art camps for kids from 6 to 17, broken down into four different age groups. The weeklong camps are inspired by the museum’s permanent collection and current exhibitions on view. This summer, kids can try their hand at abstract art in conjunction with the abstract expressionism exhibition or create a vase or sculpture inspired by The Classical World. Teens have the opportunity to learn digital photography at TMA this summer in conjunction with Tableau and Transformation: Photography from the Permanent Collection.

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts has scheduled an exciting array of adult photography workshops for this June. You can learn to master your new camera during the four-hour Photo 101 Express workshop June 2, go on a photo safari at Heritage Village June 8, learn how to edit iPhone video June 9, or learn to take better photos with your smartphone in a two-hour workshop June 20.

We're lucky to live in an area with so many outstanding community art centers and art museums. Don’t take them for granted. Get out there and make some art this summer. At least get your kids away from the TV and give them a taste of real culture. It's good for them.

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About The Author

Jennifer Ring

Jennifer studied biology for six years, planning for a career in science, but the Universe had other plans. In 2011, Jen was diagnosed with a rare lung disease that sidelined her from scientific research. Her immune system, plagued by Scleroderma, had attacked her lungs to the point of no return. She now required...
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