In the Community: Bloom Summer Camps

Bloom Article 2

Strathmore partners with local schools and organizations to infuse summer programs with the arts

by Mary Murdock

Among Strathmore’s guiding principles are a commitment to be connected to community and to remain dedicated to education. Upcoming arts programming rooted in two local community partnerships embodies these principles, promising that Strathmore will meet people where they are to ensure enriching arts experiences throughout Montgomery County.

This summer, Strathmore is partnering with Montgomery County Recreation to provide arts programming for summer camps at Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center, Gwendolyn Coffield Community Center, and Long Branch Community Center. Strathmore has had a long-standing relationship with Good Hope since its opening in 2018, playing a significant role in making it an artsfriendly space. Strathmore’s work with Coffield and Long Branch, in Silver Spring and Takoma Park respectively, is an expansion of the relationship with Montgomery County Recreation that will lead to more co-creation of experiences in those community spaces. Since the beginning of the pandemic, both centers were closed to serve as shelters for unhoused people in the area. They are now being refurbished and are set to reopen in May with plans for dynamic summer camps, where Strathmore will provide skills-based arts sessions in genres like go-go, steelpan, hip-hop, visual art, and more. In addition, Strathmore is partnering with YMCA Youth and Family Services and Linkages to Learning to provide summer programming for elementaryaged kids in the Silver Spring and Takoma Park area. Embedded in the local community and schools, these organizations provide services, including counseling, immigration information, language services, mental health resources, and more. They are already wellknown and trusted by the people they serve, giving Strathmore a chance to reach folks where they are with quality arts education programming. In Spring 2021, the YMCA connected with Strathmore to collaborate on a week-long virtual spring break program that incorporated arts sessions. “When [Strathmore] came back to us and said we might have something for the summer, we didn’t hesitate,” says Lucia Mejia, Outreach Coordinator for the YMCA.

The communities that these partners serve have experienced particularly intense impacts of COVID-19. So heading into the third summer since the pandemic began, it is as important as ever to provide opportunities for children to engage in creative expression. “We need arts in our community,” says Rosa Díaz, Community School Coordinator for Linkages to Learning. “We feel that it is good therapy for the children...especially at this time, which is very stressful for everybody.” Both Díaz and Mejia see the arts as a vital way for kids to find connection, expression, and stress relief outside of an academic environment.

Summer programming with these robust community partners is just the beginning. Lauren Campbell, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement at Strathmore, notes, “The goal of providing these services is not just to provide joy and expression, but also to build lasting relationships and build capacity for year-round programming.” These summer initiatives are an extension of the free Bloom Education programs that Strathmore provides year-round in more than 20 Montgomery County Public Schools.

Learn more about Bloom.

In addition to many wonderful individual donors who give throughout the year, Strathmore would like to extend its gratitude to the following institutions and funds who support our Bloom initiatives.

Paul M. Angell Family Foundation
Philip L. Graham Fund
The Marinus and Minna B. Koster Foundation
Jeffrey and Carolyn Leonard Endowment
Pepco Nora Roberts Foundation
Rockley Family Foundation/Jordan Kitts Music
Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation Endowment
WGL Holdings, Inc.