The East End is known for many things — the landscape, galas, restaurants — but from a community standpoint, a key characteristic of the area is the art scene. Water Mill resident Marit Molin, wife and mother of two, adds to the growing population of young artists and philanthropists, through Hamptons Art Camp. But this camp is so much more than summer fun.
The nonprofit is a year-round effort dedicated to helping those in need. Right now, Hamptons Art Camp is delivering groceries to the elderly who cannot leave their homes. Thanks to donations made through Venmo (@Hamptons-ArtCamp) and PayPal (@Hamptonsartcamp), the team picks up what’s needed at local stores and leaves the bags on individual porches, notifying the recipient of its arrival.
Looking ahead, beyond the days of social distancing, Hamptons Art Camp will welcome a third summer of campers, continuing to serve those in need of all ages. In 2019, it welcomed 60 children to its camp and workshops, at no cost to them. “I feel very lucky to have such an amazing and supportive team,” Molin, founder and director of Hamptons Art Cam, said of her staff, which includes Meg Mandell and Julie Froehlich, curriculum developers and art teachers, and counselor Catheliya Reed.
“I started Hamptons Art Camp when realizing how many children spend their summers in front of the TV due to lack of financial resources. Our campers are a blend of paying and non-paying children from the Hamptons and children visiting the area during the summer,” she said.
Designed for ages five to 11, an age range acting “more like a guideline than a rule,” the camp runs for four sessions in July, from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM Monday through Friday. Daily activities are project based and range from creating sculptures to printmaking, from cooking to creating slime. Each week the camp includes a visit from a local artist, aiming to inspire the children as they share their skills. There’s also plenty of time for water play. But what makes HAC stand out is the importance of giving back, thanks to the weekly give-back projects. In the past, projects have included making dog beds for the Southampton Animal Shelter and donating food to local food pantries.
Molin said, “It is our philosophy that everyone benefits from a diverse environment. We want to teach children the importance of giving back to the community, which is why we incorporate volunteering projects into the curriculum.”
Beyond summer activities, Hamptons Art Cam also aids students in need during the school year, with services and supplies, making it a year-round effort. Last year, 35 children got new winter coats and shoes, 50 attended a Halloween party, and 60 received backpacks with school and art supplies. Much of this is possible through Molin’s background and dedication to the next generation. She is a licensed master social worker, working full-time as a therapist at Meetinghouse Lane Medical Practice, and has experience using art to further social skills in children. Additionally, she is a troop leader for the Girl Scouts on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.
Hamptons Art Camp also offers art and slime parties, where all money goes towards summer camp and workshops for underprivileged children. To learn more, go to www.hamptonsartcamp.org.