Maplewood’s Funky Fun Art Brings the Magic

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From the Maplewood Division of Recreation

The delay in school starting allowed Funky Fun Art to extend our summer into September and offer additional weeks of camp! Funky Fun Art welcomed over 400 campers to our magical “Enchanted Forest” this summer! Campers were transformed into Fairies, Gnomes, Elves, Pixies, Trolls & Goblins! They entered magical, colorful studios where they would spend the day working on art projects and playing games! Fun theme weeks kept campers engaged all summer and each day was full of new surprises to keep the kids on their toes! We had messy Explosion Paint, YouTube videos, Jellyfish Day, Slime & Potions, Snow Cone Day, and so many more! We have over 30 staff members creating the FUN in Funky Fun Art, year-round. Funky Fun Art 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 kids to explore and create at their own pace. She encourages everyone to let their imaginations run wild and will attempt to help create anything they can dream up! Denise says, “Everyone needs a little more GLITTER in their lives!” 

While the pandemic was a hurdle for many, Funky Fun Art was able to run all of its indoor programs safely and efficiently during the pandemic without sacrificing the fun!  Given only two weeks by the state to prepare for a safe indoor summer program in 2020, Denise was able to execute a plan that exceeded all of the state guidelines and was one of the only indoor programs running last summer. She was able to have such a successful 2020 season that her 2021 camp season sold out immediately when she announced she would be moving forward with the same safety guidelines for the upcoming summer. Denise was safely able to increase her camp capacity by fifty percent for 2021 and seamlessly ran three studios simultaneously! Big things are in store for summer 2022 as the planning starts immediately to make sure we are constantly evolving and growing into the best possible art camp we can be! Without giving too much away let’s just say “Under the Sea is the Place to be!” Looking forward to all of the returning faces and hopefully some new additions to the Funky Fun Art Family! 

New fall classes have been announced and will begin on October 11th! Look forward to Comic Book Creations, YouTube Skits, Hand Sewing, and Guided Painting! Smaller classes allow for personal attention and a very custom personalized experience! Year-round workshops take place when there is no school! While the November break is currently sold out, fun new workshops are being planned for those days off in 2022! Look for the announcement next month! Also, keep an eye out for our fun holiday workshops!  We have a witches workshop in October, a Fairy workshop in January, and so many fun surprises that will be popping up in December!  

Melissa Mancuso, Director of Community Services for Maplewood, brought Denise on board back in 2019 to bring more art programming to the community. Her support and guidance helped Funky Fun Art grow to allow even more students access to affordable art classes.   “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.  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,” said Melissa Mancuso, Director of Community Services for the township.

Along with the amazing classes, Denise offers fun family activities and senior art classes throughout the year! She created the Maplewood Virtual Egg Hunt to allow families to safely participate at home during the pandemic. She also created monthly Senior Sunshine art kits that were delivered to local seniors in the community. Sing for Seniors, a community volunteer program that allowed residents to sign up and be assigned a local senior to safely distance and go caroling at their homes during the holidays lifted spirits during the pandemic. Chalk your walk, Colorful Maplewood, make sure you’re counted, sensory friendly day, breakfast with Santa, and the tree lighting are just a few of the many activities she helps host in the community. She loves fun engaging art experiences and welcomes the community to reach out with any ideas or suggestions! 

Funky Fun Art is an amazing experience for kids due to the phenomenal staff that brings the MAGIC every day! Staff members understand how important it is to listen to the kid’s needs and wants when planning a fun, personalized, experience for them! Many of the Funky Fun Art staff members are former campers and students which speaks volumes about the culture Denise was able to cultivate. Funky Fun Art is always looking to add talented people to our 30+ staff! You must love kids and have a genuine love for arts and crafts and want to share that with others! If you are interested in joining the team please reach out to Denise: 

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