Visit the Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center


The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center hosts camps for children ages 3-12, workshops, as well as Girl Scout programs. For more information please call the Education Office at
(757) 393-5258.


Girl Scout Programs



For more information about our Girl Scout badge offerings, please call the Education Office at (757) 393-5258.




Camps for 3-5 Year Olds

Minimum 4 campers, Maximum 10 campers
Cost per camper: $50/members or $55/non members

Move and Groove

Jump, dance, and wiggle as you explore the joy of movement and music! Try yoga, Zumba, and even play with a parachute as you discover different types of music, while learning to creatively express yourself.
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: June 20-24, 10-11 am

Things that Go

Explore all kinds of things that go Vroom! Make cars and boats, play with trains and explore the science of things the move! See a special presentation of our train display and explore the traveling exhibit, Amusement Park Science.
Location: Children’s Museum of VA
Dates: June 27-July 1, 1-2 pm

Art Under the Sea

Little artists spend three days creating art using the ocean and all of its wondrous creatures as inspiration. This is a great way to evolve motor skills through cutting, gluing, painting, drawing and much more.
Location: Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center
Dates: July 6-8, 9:30-11:30 am

Camps for 6-8 Year Olds

Minimum 4 campers, Maximum 15 campers
Campers can sign up for a half day session or both morning and afternoon sessions to make a full day (9 am – 4 pm, campers bring their own lunch – lunch supervision provided.)
Members: $65 half day, $135 full day
Non Members; $70 half day, $145 full day

Art Explorers I

Explore the beautiful and fascinating world of ancient Japan through hands on art projects. Learn about the art of calligraphy, try gyotaku, and explore Japanese pottery, printmaking and painting.
Location: Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center
Dates: June 20-24, 9 am-noon

LEGO camp with Play-Well TEKnologies

NOTE: This is a specialty camp led by Play-Well, and therefore has a different fee – $130 for the week. This camp can be added to the morning session for a full day camp for an additional $65 or $70.
Power up your engineering skills with Play-Well TEKnologies and thousands of LEGO®! Apply real-world concepts in physics, engineering, and architecture through engineer-designed projects such as the Battletrack! Design and build as never before, and explore your craziest ideas in a supportive environment. An experienced instructor will challenge new and experienced students to engineer at the next level.
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: June 20-24, 1-4 pm

Thrill Seekers

Explore the science of roller coasters, and build engineering marvels. Campers will make things spin, roll, turn and rock. Each camp day includes carnival-themed games, group challenges, model-building and more. Time will also be spent exploring the museum and the current traveling exhibit, “Amusement Park Science.”
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: July 11-15, 9 am – Noon

STEM Studio Camp

Spend a week immersed in STEM – engineering and problem solving challenges, the science of flight, the technology of 3D printing, tinkering with Little Bits circuits, and making your own boom box.
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: July 11-15, 1-4 pm

Time Travelers: History-style

Embark on an 18th Century adventure! Do you have what it takes to train like a British Soldier, be ready at a moment’s notice like a minute man, or serve as one of General George Washington’s spies? Test your colonial life skills and visit local Revolutionary War sites.
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: July 18-22, 9 am – noon

EnviroCraft Camp

Campers will get hands-on experience crafting with a variety of recyclable materials to create fun and useful objects for everyday life.
Location: Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center
Dates: July 18-22, 1-4 pm

Camps for 9-12 Year Olds

Minimum 4 campers, Maximum 15 campers
Campers can sign up for a half day session or both morning and afternoon sessions to make a full day (9 am – 4 pm, campers bring their own lunch and lunch supervision provided.)
Members: $65 half day, $135 full day
Non Members; $70 half day, $145 full day

Creative Thunder Drums

This camp will teach the tradition of West African Mandingue djembe (jim-bay) and dunun (due-noon) drumming by using silly-syllabic expressions and fun math to teach simple rhythm patterns.
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: June 27-July 1, 9 am-noon

Masterpiece Medley

Campers will have the opportunity to discover their inner artist through an introduction to the Old Masters. Spend the week learning about European artists and their techniques from before, during and after the Renaissance. Techniques explored include painting, printmaking and sculpture.
Location: Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center
Dates: June 27-July 1, 1-4 pm

The Stars and Beyond

Discover the expansiveness of our universe that can be found by observing the night sky and exploring celestial objects. Visit the planetarium, explore constellations, and learn about the compositions of other planets as we delve into the mysteries of our galaxy and beyond.
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: July 25-29, 9 am -noon

Art Explorers II

Emerging artists will examine folk art of the Americas. Folk art techniques to be explored include painting, weaving, and metal work as well as a look into the customs and traditions of the cultures that created them.
Location: Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center
Dates: July 25-29, 1-4 pm


Campers will assemble their own sketchbooks and transform each page into a unique art piece that will challenge their creativity and encourage artistic exploration.
Location: Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center
Dates: Aug 1-5, 9 am -noon

Detective Science

Step into the shoes of a detective – uncover the science involved in evidence gathering and analysis. Discover how detectives use science to uncover the mysteries of a crime. Solve different types of cases using clues and conduct biotechnology experiments dealing with forensics, investigation, fingerprinting and more.
Location: Children’s Museum of Virginia
Dates: Aug 1-5, 1-4 pm

Camps For 13-15 Year Olds

Members and Nonmembers, $85

Write it out

Experiment with different literary forms, on and off the page from poetry and short fiction to book arts and comic books. Students will learn to critique the work of others, and to perform and present their own work.
Location: Portsmouth Community Colored Library Museum
Dates: June 20-24, 1-4 pm




Workshops and Gallery Talks may require advance registration and fees. Be sure to review each event for details. Contact us at 757-393-8543 for additional information.

Writing Your History: An African-American Memoir Workshop

Instructor: Lisa Hartz
Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center Art Annex
Thursdays, April 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19
10:00 am – Noon

Would you like to be a part of making history by creating testimonials of your experiences living in the black community of Portsmouth before the Civil Rights Act? Here’s your opportunity to create an archive of memories to be displayed and maintained by the Portsmouth Community Colored Library Museum for generations to come.

In this creative writing workshop we’ll explore stories of black life – epic and anecdotal. We’ll generate notes and ideas as a group, read samples of memoir, and learn the tools and language of creative writing. You’ll share your written work in a stimulating and supportive environment. Then, when we’re ready, we’ll share your stories; share your history.
Lisa Hartz holds an MA in English Writing from Hollins University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami. She is former Director of The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA, and a current Director of the Seven Cities Writers Project. The cost is $25 ($20 for members.) Please call 757-393-8543 to register.



MAY 7 & 8

10 am - 5 pm


First Weekend
Gosport Art Show Courtyard Event: Artisan Show and Tell

The annual Gosport Art Show offers a wide-range of work by artists who gather along High Street to sell their work over Mother’s Day Weekend. During this time, we'll host artisan demonstrations in the courtyard, with local artists explaining and performing their techniques to creating. It is an excellent opportunity for visitors to learn from experts about their work while also watching. Traditions represented will include blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, quilting, candles, beekeeping, ceramics, pottery and hot glasswork.

Museum Admission is free Saturday, May 7. Demonstrations in the courtyard are free both days.

MAY 15

11 am - 1 pm


The Portsmouth Museums welcomes children with special needs (12 and under) and their families to enjoy a morning of their very own.

Admission: $5 per person and 1 caregiver admitted for free
(Admission is good for the day; however, rates are only applicable between 9-11AM)

Admission includes the Children's Museum of Virginia and Lightship Portsmouth Virginia

Here at Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center:

Enjoy complimentary admission to exhibits for Special Needs Day during the hours of 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. Activities and demonstrations in clay will be offered outside by local artist Stephen Marder,owner of Orzo Ceramic Studio on High Street. Participants can watch demonstrations and experience how it feels to manipulate clay with their hands.

Sink and Float Activity in front of the Lightship Portsmouth:

Using everyday household items, come try your hand at building a boat to test buoyancy in the water to learn how ships stay afloat.

Children's Museum of Virginia Activities 9 am - 11 am:

Our very own “Corey the Talented Blind Guy” presents music and stories, and a variety of instruments for visitors to explore.

Make and Take: Create a textured collage and add it to a picture frame.

Build, stack, and connect as we bring out bunches of building blocks.

MAY 21

10 am - Noon


Farm-To-Table Tastings

This year, in addition to purchasing fresh veggies, fruit, eggs and more, visitors may join us in the courtyard to sample new tastes and explore ways of preparing familiar and unfamiliar veggies and fruits prepared by special guest chefs. This is sure to please and answer questions on what to do with some of the market’s great offerings.

May features special guest Nicolas Hagen, chef and owner HomeGrown Pizza, 455 Court St., Portsmouth.

MAY 21

10:30 am - 4:30 pm

MAY 22

1:30 - 4:30 pm



Arts of Japan Expose’

A showcase of Bonsai trees and Bonsai artist demonstrations, along with vending and demonstrations by local Sumi-E and Pottery artists. Displays and vendors will be ongoing.

This program is included with paid admission to the museum.


Presentation: 1:30 pm
Poetry Reading: 5 pm


First Saturday Artist Afternoon & Evening Events
From the Mountain Tops: Mining and the Loss of Appalachian Natural Resources -Illustrated Presentation by Photographer Carl Galie
Eco Ekphrasis: Poems on Art & the Environment

All of this day’s programming will highlight the exhibit Vanishing Beauty, featuring the work of artists addressing concerns for nature and conservation. Photos by North Carolina photographer Carl Galie are featured in this show. He will present his documentation of mountaintop removal and its impact on our nation’s resources. Originally from the West Virginia coalfields, Galie began his dream in 1986 to protect the beauty of nature through art photography. In August 2010 he was awarded the first Art for Conservation Grant for his work on conservation issues. This event is free and open to the public as well as an evening event of pros read by local writers who have created poems based on artworks in Vanishing Beauty.

Copyright 2012 City of Portsmouth, VA
website by Arengee

400 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704 · 757-393-8543
Mailing Address: 521 Middle Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
The Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center, housed in the 1846 Courthouse, is devoted to offering quality educational, cultural and aesthetic experiences in the arts through rotating visual art exhibits, lectures, classes and performances.