I often say that the Noctiluna Art Camp is the best kept secret in Vienna VA. I know so many families in this town through the camp. Often when grocery shopping, a kid will yell “Ms Chitra!” across the store, and almost every time I visit my daughter’s high school, a former camper will spot me and run over for a chat.
The camp has been running for almost twelve years now and enrollment has largely been generated through word of mouth. This is good, it means that people like the camp enough to keep coming back and tell their friends about it. However, this also means that the camp’s reach is limited to pockets of locals and their friends. When students age out of the camp (as many did during our pandemic break) it becomes essential to find a new group of solid Noctiluna families. Given that we are a very small company without signs around town or a permanent brick and mortar location, getting the word out can be… challenging.
I know that there are many options out there when looking for art camps, but I really do think that the Noctiluna Art Camp is truly unique and amazing. Here are some reasons why:
- We keep camp sizes small and cozy. Teachers, counselors and students all get to know each other well and there is a real sense of community within the camp. It is a kind, fuzzy environment that discourages any kind of exclusion, bullying or loneliness.
- We teach art, design and, above all, creative thinking. The process is always given as much importance as the end product. Students are encouraged and taught to think critically, solve problems, and are allowed to make their own mistakes. This is not a camp where teachers expect perfection or pretty pictures. Kids go back to school feeling really confident and creative with an expanded idea of how art and design can impact their world.
- Our teachers (both of us!) are trained art teachers who have taught in public and private schools and are currently practicing artists and designers as well. This keeps our teaching fresh and contemporary. Our counselors are local high schoolers who have a passion for art and working with kids, and are just lovely humans.
- We change our themes each year and there is something for everybody. Past camp themes have included Architecture and town planning, Cartography, Illustrating Fairy Tales, Storytelling and Mythology, Transportation design, Portraiture, Scientific Illustration, Printmaking, Art and Nature, Book Art and Comics, Graphic Design and Composition, Fiber art, Patternmaking, and Optical Art and Illusions.
- We think that play, and time spent on break both indoors and outdoors is just as important as making art. It is really important for kids to decompress over the summer, sometimes our most creative ideas come to us when we are taking a break. We take BIG outdoor breaks and get all our wiggles out. Your child will fall asleep early every day!
- We keep it local – projects are often about the communities we live in. We have had camps where students design schools and playgrounds for their communities, and discuss ways in which they could impact Vienna in positive ways. One year, we had a go at redesigning Vienna and the mayor reviewed our finished plans!
- We are child centered goofballs. This is a camp for fun, silliness, discovery and happiness and I am the goofball in chief. We have highly fluid timetables that can change based on the campers’ interests and needs. If the kids want to take a project in a new direction, we often do. If the kids need an extra outdoor break, then we do that! It works really well, makes us more productive, and everyone feels heard and happy.
Yes I know I’m biased, but it really is the best little creativity camp in the world. I know many kids who would agree. So, are you ready to be part of the Noctiluna family this year? Check out our themes here and sign up!