Summer Camp 2023

Art in the Garden Summer Camp 2023 celebrates 11 years of youth and family programming!

Art in the Garden is an LGBTQ+ led, liberatory, joy-centered youth program that uses arts, ecology, and mindfulness as vehicles to address the impacts of childhood adversity and trauma. Youth learn to see themselves as creators of positive change for themselves, others, and the planet. All are welcome!

Join us this summer to make new friends and connect with old friends. Come make a graffiti mural with the Mural Art Project, make plant medicine with Pittsburgh Forest Garden, explore migration through the study of birds with Bird Lab, learn printmaking techniques with the Andy Warhol Museum, become a chef and cook in the wood fired oven in the garden. Plus strengthen your teamwork skills and make friends through collaborative games and learn about how plants create biodiversity and sequester carbon to help mitigate climate change…and more! All activities are designed to build confidence, nurture compassion, and give campers opportunities to experience themselves as agents of positive change.

WHEN: June 26 – August 4, Mondays through Fridays 9 am – 1 pm, with before and after care options

WHO: Campers age 4-13 (with options for Teen Counselors ages 14-19)

WHERE: Camp is held outdoors at Borland Garden in East Liberty (527 North Beatty Street). In case of inclement weather, camp is held a short walk from the garden

REGISTER: Register HERE. Spots fill quickly.

REGÍSTRESE: Registrar aquí. Las manchas se llenan rápidamente.

COST: In order to promote economic justice, Art in the Garden uses a sliding scale fee. Costs range from FREE to $400 per week + $25 enrollment fee. *Registration is limited and, in the interest of equity, at least half of the spots are reserved for campers who identify as low-income and/or are of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx heritage. Priority is also given to families who live within walking distance of Borland Garden and families who are registering for all six weeks of camp.*

Art in the Garden hosts 8-10 responsible teen counselors who enjoy art and nature and working with kids at this six-week summer camp. Camp runs from 9 am to1 pm Mondays through Fridays, June 26th-August 4th. Art in the Garden is an LGBTQ+ led, liberatory, joy-centered youth program. 

Teen Counselor Program. Teen counselors are matched with a lead teacher and a group of 15 campers. As collaborators in the mission of Art in the Garden, Teen Counselors support and engage with young campers through mentorship and encouragement. Teen Counselors support arts, ecological, and social programming, and help with daily activities such as preparing materials, serving meals, and participating in arts and ecology programming led by AITG teachers and community collaborators (see below). Teen counselors collaborate with each other as they develop skills which build on their interests and talents and will set them up for success in their role as mentors. Teen Counselors practice communicating effectively with young campers and AITG staff, find creative ways to problem solve, cultivate flexibility, and build purposeful relationships. Teen counselors are supported in their role as they build skills they can apply in their personal and professional lives. Teen Counselors deepen their self-awareness, engage in restorative practices which strengthen relationships and teamwork, and discover themselves as creators of positive change.

QUESTIONS? Email us at or call (412) 592-5711.


Talented teaching artists and ecologists provide unique experiences for youth and families at Art in the Garden. We are a community that embraces our intersectionality, welcomes the whole of each person, and values our interconnection. Teaching artists and ecologists empower youth and build confidence, giving youth opportunities to experience themselves as agents of positive change. Art in the Garden supports each youth’s ability to thrive and live their fullest expressions of themselves. 

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Pittsburgh Forest Garden led by Sten Carlson is a response to the rapid pace of global climate change and growing anxiety among youth about its effects on their future. Its purpose is to create a network of food forest school gardens to serve as outdoor classrooms where youth engage in the regenerative practices needed to help mitigate, adapt to, and, ultimately, reverse climate change. Campers learn about and contribute to the emerging field of carbon farming, improve ecosystem health, increase food security, beautify their community, and produce high yields from edible and medicinal plants. (Mornings 9-10; Fridays 10-11:30)

Bird Lab led by Nick Liadis, explores questions related to migratory songbirds whose journeys span oceans and continents every year to make Pennsylvania their home. Campers engage activities around nest building, bird song, and the role of native plants. (Tuesdays 10-11:30 and Wednesdays 7/12 and 7/19 with the youngest group)

Sankofa Village for the Arts led by Toddja Thornhill teaches campers West African drumming and dance using sound and movement as tools for building self-esteem, self-discipline, self-determination, and self-sufficiency. (Thursdays, 10-11:30)

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Rivers of Steel

The Mural Art Project led by Max “Gems” Gonzalez, Jerome “Chu” Charles, and Shane Pilster, is a collaboration with Rivers of Steel Arts (ROSA) and Hemispheric Conversations: Urban Art Project (HCUAP). Youth learn graffiti and mural arts skills while building community and are empowered to challenge barriers and give voice to their dreams. Youth have opportunities to create lasting murals that foster love and solidarity and justice. (Mondays and Wednesdays 10-11:30)

The Andy Warhol Museum explores the migration of birds and how artists like Andy Warhol raise awareness about social issues through their art. Using Warhol’s Endangered Species series as a springboard, youth explore topics of migration, rare birds, local birds, and native vegetation. Youth make silkscreen prints on paper, pillowcases, and t-shirts and canvass bags. (youngest group and teen leaders, Thursdays 10-11:30)

DeVaughn Rodgers and Kuwame Kinsel lead our youngest campers in art exploration. Campers will create banners using basic techniques found in mural making and other forms of street art. Campers will learn about blends and fades and stencils and block prints in this two-session experience. The banners will be showcased in late summer. (youngest group and teen leaders, two Wednesdays, 10-11:30)

This project is a collaboration with Rivers of Steel Arts (ROSA) and Hemispheric Conversations: Urban Art Project (HCUAP).

Reading is FUNdamental Pittsburgh (RIF) brings stories, activities, books, and literary resources to Art in the Garden. When RIF visits, campers choose a free book to expand their home libraries. (Every other Thursday, 10-11:30)

Affirming, Strengths-Based Mental Health Support is available on site for campers and staff and includes options for individual counseling on-site with licensed social worker (LSW). Campers are supported with strategies to address anxiety and build confidence. Our counselor is also available to connect families interested in long-term counseling with therapists in the area. Our counselor’s therapeutic approach is holistic, nurturing, responsive, and curious, and she often incorporates mindfulness, movement, and art.  (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 9am-1pm)

Earthen Vessels provides healthy, plant-based breakfast and lunch for free to every camper every day; Art in the Garden provides compostable dish ware to eliminate waste. Campers experience the benefits composting and healthy soil as they growing food they get to enjoy! (Everyday, breakfast and lunch)

Families are invited to enjoy guest musicians, STEAM activities, and more!

Be sure to check out our HIGHLIGHTS from 2021!