Anytime is a great time for youngsters to express themselves through art. But when school lets out for summer vacation, kids have more time to try a fun art medium such as clay or film making. Chicago is rich in camps and classes with an art focus. The following five art opportunities encourage self-expression with professional guidance. They vary from classes offered as a camp session to classes similar to those available the rest of the year but at different times. To see suggestions from 2013, check out Best Places For Kids Summer Art Activities In Chicago.
(Photo Credit: The Art Center Highland Park's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: The Art Center Highland Park’s Facebook)

The Art Center
1957 Sheridan Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 432-1888

You know youngsters are allowed to let their imagination take hold with such titles as Creative Summer Art Camp, The Joy of Creativity Art Camp, Arts & Crafts Creativity Zone and Ceramic Art Camp. Offered from June 16 through August 8, 2014, sessions can be for two, four, six or eight weeks. Camps range from ages four to 14. Summer classes go from June 23 to August 17 and range from painting to ceramics and digital arts to photography. The Art Center uses professional teachers for summer camps and classes. Discounts are given for more than one session. Scholarships are also available. Click here for camp details and here for class details.

Art Institute Of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 443-3600

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
36 S. Wabash Ave., Suite #1440
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 629-6170

The Art Institute of Chicago has many summer youth activities and classes at the museum and through the School of the Art Institute’s Continuing Studies programs. If looking for a fun family activity that doesn’t need registration, drop by the Artist’s Studio in the Ryan Education Center, first floor Modern Wing, any weekend. The Center also has good workshops that require advanced registration. Mini Masters for ages three to five combine visits to some galleries with stories and art dabbling. Family Workshops for ages six to 12 are themed and project-based such as making clay reliefs and impressionist paintings. Click calendar for more workshop information. However, click summer camp for the school’s Children’s Workshops in Art and Creativity for ages five to 10. Go to Middle School for the school’s summer program for ages 11 to 13 and to Early College Program for grades 9 through 12 classes.

(Photo Credit:

(Photo Credit:

Hyde Park Art Center
5020 S. Cornell Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 324-5520

The challenge at the Hyde Park Art Center is narrowing down exciting sounding options to what fits the family’s summer schedule. Camp sessions, broken up by weeks from June 16 to September 5, range from painting, puppetry and mosaics to ceramics, comics, fabric dying and more than 10 other topics. There are mixed media sessions and themes such as Stop Motion Animation. Sections are grouped by ages beginning at prekindergarten and continuing to junior high. Some classes include field trips. Others focus on skill development. Click Creativity Camp to see all of the options.

Summer Camp Scramble

Lillstreet Art Center
4401 N. Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-4226

Adults are not the only age group that can take advantage of Lillstreet Art Center, famous for its pottery classes. In addition to youth classes throughout the year, Lillstreet hosts vacation camps including weekly summer sessions that in 2014 run between June 9 and August 29. Camp sessions have such intriguing names as Art Around the World, Wild Things and Nature Stuff. Click camps to see session dates, topics, age groups and cost. Of course, there are hand building and wheel throwing sessions but there are also sessions for drawing, cartooning, movie making and puppetry. Camp ages go from 3.5 to 14 plus. Summer classes are offered but expect fewer than during the school year because of camp offerings.

Little Black Pearl Art and Design Center
1060 E. 47th St.
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 285-1211

Little Black Pearl is not so little anymore, having expanded during the past 18 years from the basement of a formerly elegant stone Bronzeville house to its current, modern building on 47th Street. But it still is a pearl of an art center with youth classes during the school year and a full arts camp for ages seven to 17 during summer vacation. Summer offerings include painting, drawing, dance and digital technology. Ask Chinyera Moody about registration, discounts and scholarships.

Related:  Best Summer Day Camps In Chicago

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on