City Lab

City Lab includes a range of experiential, exploratory courses held in Philadelphia. These courses will be primarily 1-2 week explorations. Topics include art classes that utilize locations throughout the city as an extended classroom, jewelry and glass making, and more.

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Art Classes for Rising Third, Fourth, and Fifth Graders

Teacher: Dan Deslaurier
Prerequisite: Students will be rising third, fourth, or fifth graders during the coming 2020-21 school year. 

Choose your favorite from five different weekly sessions, or try all five!  

Lower School Art Classes SummerSessions


Session 1: My Summer Sketchbook  
Date: June 15 - 19, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $245

Student artists will learn a variety of decorating techniques and create painted papers with which they can mix, match, and trade with each other to design their own hand-stitched sketchbook. We’ll take our books out onto the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to enjoy our own sketching adventures!

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Session 2: Awesome Animation (NEW OFFERING)
Date: June 22 - 26, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $245

Student artists “draw” inspiration from Ben Franklin Parkway landmarks while learning about the principles of animation and creating hand-drawn flipbooks and 18th- and 19th-century animation toys! 

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Session 3: Parkway Pillows
Date: June 29 - July 2, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (closed July 3)
Cost: $195

Student artists work from sketches and photographs of scenes from the Ben Franklin Parkway to create images which can be drawn on or transferred to fabric and hand-sewn onto their own personally designed stuffed pillow!

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Session 4: My Mosaic
Date: July 6 - 17, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $490 (two weeks)      

Student artists visit mosaics around the city for inspiration, learn about and experiment with a variety of materials and techniques (including their own hand-built, glazed, and fired ceramic art) while designing one-of-a-kind mosaic panels. (This session will feature a field trip to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.)

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Session 5: Savasana Stuffies  
Date: July 20 - 24, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $245

Students learn about and practice the yoga position of Savasana (the relaxation pose) and how it helps one to clear their minds and relax their bodies. We’ll design and sew small stuffed friends to hold on our bellies during the pose, a tool to help us focus on breathing deeply and remaining still. Weather permitting, we’ll practice a variety of meditation techniques at different locales on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

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These sessions are taught by Dan Deslaurier, who earned his Master’s degree in PK-12 Art Education from The University of the Arts. Teacher Dan has taught visual art at Friends Select School in grades pre-kindergarten - 4th grade for the past 19 years. Teacher Dan enjoys creating in all art media though his favorite artistic pastime is the craft of papercutting. His work has been exhibited at Main Line Art Center, A Bit of the Arts Holiday Fair, and The Eyes Gallery.

Field Hockey Camp (on the Roof)

Teacher: Mariko Cummings
Dates: June 8 - 12, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Cost: $230

Participants will be introduced to the basic skills of field hockey. They will focus on dribbling, passing, dodging, driving, and defense, with an emphasis on basic individual skills, group games, and having fun. More experienced participants will have an opportunity to enhance their basic skills and learn team play, proper positioning, and field situations. Advanced individual skills will be introduced.

This camp will be run by the varsity assistant coach, Mariko Cummings, a former Friends Select field hockey player who also played in college, and has been coaching at FSS for the past decade.

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Summer Jewelry and Glass Studio

Teacher: Lynda Greenwade
Dates: June 15 - 26, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Cost: $275 (includes materials)

Join us for two fun-filled weeks exploring jewelry design, as well as making glass objects. This class is for rising 5th graders through adult. Basic use of hand tools and metals equipment will help familiarize students with these unique art forms. Techniques covered include polishing, soldering, casting, stained glass, and glass fusing. In the metals week, students will make several pieces of jewelry, including a silver ring with a set stone. In the glass week, students will make glass beads and a fused bowl. Safety and craftsmanship will be emphasized.

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City Sketchbook

Teacher: Fred Kogan
City Sketch 1
Dates: June 15 - 26, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Cost: $460 (includes materials)

City Sketch Advanced 
Dates: July 6 - 101:00 - 4:00 p.m
Cost: $230 (includes materials)

City Sketch SummerSession

In both courses, students will have the opportunity to travel to exciting locations in the city, where they will draw and paint subject matter from direct observation. They will be encouraged to work energetically, to be self-motivated, and to relate drawing and painting to self-discovery. Students will learn about the basic art elements, such as line, tone, value, hue, proportion, perspective, texture, and modulation. Finally, students will learn concepts of compositional structure: picture plane, cropping, movement, symmetry, proportion, and craftsmanship. Students will learn the major characteristics of the various drawing and painting media, including pencil, charcoal, graphite stick, Conte crayon, India ink, colored pencil, oil pastel, chalk pastel, and watercolor.

This course is taught by Fred Kogan, who studied industrial design at Kent State University and art education at Parsons School of Design/Bank Street College of Education. Fred has taught art at Friends Select School in grades 5 - 8 for the past 16 years, and has taught City Sketchbook for the past 15 years. In his own work, Fred enjoys drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. His work has been exhibited at The Plastic Club, Fleisher Art Memorial, and Tyler School of Art/Rome. Fred loves drawing and painting from observation in Center City and his goal is to inspire young artists to become passionate urban sketchers.

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Nature, Grittiness, Grit, and Entrepreneurship in the City

In partnership with Drexel University’s Close School of Business, Friends Select School is proud to offer:
Teacher: Drexel University professor Scott Quitel
Dates: June 15 - 26, 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Cost: $365
Prerequisite: For rising 10th -12th graders

Drexel University’s Nature, Grittiness, Grit, and Entrepreneurship in the City

Want to see a bunch of cool sights and sites in our city that most people never encounter? Then sign up for this immersive urban experience!

The canvas: Philadelphia—fifth largest U.S. city; loads of wealth in Center City and University City; poorest big city in the U.S.; 10,000 acres of preserved natural areas; 40,000 vacant inner-city lots; two dynamic rivers closely connected to the ocean. Beauty, history, culture, social issues, and opportunities. So much to dive into and explore!

The goal of our camp experience is to stimulate your sense of wonder, awe, and curiosity by exploring lesser known but super cool natural and urban places in Philly. Our varied journeys will expose you to awesome natural and built beauty, as well as challenging social problems. Along the way, you’ll also meet several inspiring local social entrepreneurs who are positively impacting Philly neighborhoods. By the end of our treks, you’ll walk away with a newfound awareness of the amazingness of our city and, perhaps, an urge to get involved in a new cause related to your own passion!

This course is being taught by Scott Quitel, who is is Drexel University’s Director of Social Entrepreneurship and has extensive experience in ecologically-based master planning, land use planning, ecological analysis, restoration, and education. He is the founder of the LandHealth Institute and has also held an array of volunteer-based positions on various boards and committees, including the Vice Chair of Whitemarsh PA Shade Tree Commission. Prior to his founding role at LandHealth, Scott served as Principal Ecologist for Applied Ecological Services (AES), where he worked from 2006 through 2014. While at AES, Scott was the primary author of various master plans, management plans, restoration plans, and natural resource inventories and analyses. He led the visioning, public process, and design of many high-profile projects, such as the Washington Avenue Pier and the Meadow at Longwood Gardens. Scott has been awarded two Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Community Greening awards, an ASLA design award, and a tree preservation award.

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Maker’s Space Summer Camp

Teachers: Allison Frick and Max Budnick
Dates: June 29 - July 10 (8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) (closed July 3)
Cost: $650 fee covers field trips, snacks, and lab materials (max 15 students)

STEAM SummerSessions 2019

Do you love designing, building, and tinkering? Then join us for Maker’s Space Summer Camp. We will be doing all of the fizzy, squishy, sticky, loud, and light-up projects that are just too complex for a regular day in the library. Each class includes time for snacks and a visit to Sister Cities for outside time. 

We believe in being in the city and of the city. Every morning we choose diverse, dynamic locations near the school to take students for field trips. We base each day’s maker project around the morning’s theme. Some examples of this from last year’s camp include visiting the sphere at the Comcast Building and then building our own geodesic dome that afternoon. We also visited the Souls Grown Deep exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which focused on art of the African-American South, and then created our own interpretation of that work using found objects. The goal of the Maker’s Space Summer Camp is to have students observe and explore a wide range of exciting exhibitions near Friends Select, and then use their maker abilities to create works inspired by what they have seen. The amount of time that students are in camp allows them to work on large-scale collaborative projects that would not be possible during the school year.

  • Learn about circuitry by making your own duct tape wallets and then lighting them up with copper tape and LEDs.
  • Experiment with sounds and vibration with cigar box kalimbas.
  • Combine fine craft with science and stitch your own light-up felt monster with conductive thread and LEDs.

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