Teen Summer Guidelines

Registration Information

Registration for summer 2021 programs begins April 12 for current VMFA members and April 19 for non-members.


Whether you enjoy drawing, painting, sculpting, film, or fashion, these five-day studio classes teach you new skills, enhance your talents, help you develop personal vision, and strengthen your portfolio for college. Professional artists and instructors use a wide range of concepts and media to expand your knowledge of art, art history, culture, and perspective while building new relationships with peers and mentors within the arts community. Classes offer individual instruction to accommodate all levels of experience.


13–17 (View Kids Summer Camps)
Jun 28–Aug 20
M–F, 9 am–noon or 1–4 pm
$150 per class (VMFA members $130)
Online, phone 804.340.1405, or visit the VMFA Visitor Services desk during public hours


EMAIL      youthstudio@vmfa.museum
PHONE    804.340.1331 or 804.340.1438

Download guidelines and information packet here



What is VMFA’s mask policy for summer camps?

Following K-12 guidance in Virginia, the museum strongly recommends the use of masks for all participants and faculty/staff in early childhood, youth, and teen classes and programs. Along with mask recommendation, VMFA will mirror K-12 school COVID-19 safety guidelines within studios and classrooms, including social distancing and frequent cleaning. Please note that unvaccinated participants ages 2 and up should wear a mask while at the museum. 

What is the drop-off and pick-up process like? 

Please review the Youth/Teen Studio Programs Information Packet carefully. Drop-off times and select pick-up times have been extended to minimize crowding. On the first day of camp or class, we collect paperwork and verify registration. Daily screenings are also conducted upon arrival. At pick-up, staff checks IDs (for youth camps). Masks and physical distancing are required.

Our summer plans have changed – can I get a refund or transfer to another camp?

VMFA has a “no cancellations” policy; however, the following exception applies to Youth and Teen Summer Camps only:
For transfers, there is a $30 fee to switch a camp (but only if another camp is available). For cancellations, we deduct $50 from the registration fee per cancellation refund. Transfers and cancellations must be made at least two weeks prior to the start of camp; otherwise, full payment is required.

What happens if my child misses a camp or class?

Please mark your calendars. VMFA does not provide refunds or allow transfers for missed classes. Even if someone misses a class, they still occupy that reservation prohibiting others from enrolling.
Staff can sometimes put together a take-home kit or gather select materials from the day’s lesson, if notified the same day.
If your child is not feeling well or has symptoms of COVID, contact youthstudio@vmfa.museum for further advisement. If your child tests positive for COVID, you may be eligible for a refund. Please also review the Summer Camps: COVID-19 Protocols. 

What should I do if my child is sick?

Stay home! Any signs of illness or respiratory disease such as COVID-19 should be taken seriously. Consult your pediatrician for medical advice based on your child’s symptoms. Contact youthstudio@vmfa.museum as soon as possible to discuss cancellation and registration options. If your child tests positive for COVID-19, you may be eligible for a refund.

Students may not attend class or visit the museum until they can answer COVID-19 screening questions and show a negative COVID-19 test result or doctor’s note. VMFA follows CDC guidelines on when it is safe to be around others: 

    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
    • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    • COVID-19 symptoms have improved (for example, cough, shortness of breath)

Refer to the complete CDC guidelines and updates: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

What happens if a teacher is out sick?

If a teacher is not feeling well and has not been to the museum, VMFA will attempt to find a substitute. If a teacher has had close contact with students, we will notify families as soon as possible. See our Summer Camps: COVID-19 Protocols for further details.

Can I attend camp with my child or sit with them in the studio?

Unless your child has a medical need that requires an aide, only registered students and Camp Staff are allowed in the studios to keep occupancy low.

We’re used to virtual learning – how can I prepare my child for an in-person camp?

Please review the Youth/Teen Studio Programs Information Packets carefully. We encourage families to visit the museum at their leisure so children feel more comfortable and familiar with the space prior to taking their first camp or class.
Also, please talk to your child about mask wearing and what it means to physically distance. Practice healthy hygiene habits like washing hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and covering their face when sneezing and coughing.

What if my child doesn’t want to wear a mask?

Masks are recommended in the museum. We know wearing one can be tough for some children, but be patient and stay positive. Explain the importance of wearing a mask and caring for others. Set a good example and allow them time to get used to wearing a mask prior to camp. Comfort is key – ensure that their mask is the right fit and material.
Try to make wearing a mask fun by letting your child decorate or help make their own mask. Some children may embrace the idea of dressing up as a superhero in disguise or an art conservator protecting themselves from special chemicals in the lab.
Of course, we recognize that some students may have medical conditions or that wearing a mask may be too challenging. In these cases, we recommend wearing a face shield.
Disposable masks and face shields (youth and adult sizes) are available in the studios, if needed.

Do students get mask breaks?

Yes, youth camps have daily breaks for snack, restroom use, and play; they will remove masks to eat and drink. Most breaks will take place outdoors, with weather permitting. Should a camper need additional time to break from their mask, they will be accompanied by a staff person and permitted to step outside or in designated break area. Teens may take breaks at their leisure.

Will students be able to visit the galleries or special exhibitions?

Some classes may be permitted to visit the galleries, pending the number of students, ability to physically distance, gallery capacity limits, and other restrictions. If students are unable to visit the galleries, teachers will provide other VMFA visual resources for inspiration, as well as gallery maps to encourage students and families to see the art in-person at their leisure.

Will any of the camps or classes be outside?

All summer youth and teen camps/classes are scheduled indoors, however, we love going outside! We have our daily breaks outdoors, plus teachers will frequently bring groups outside and teach in the Sculpture Garden (weather permitting, of course). If you’re concerned about sun exposure or insect bites, feel free to apply sunscreen or bug repellent prior to arrival.

Do you offer any summer camps or classes online?

While VMFA does offer virtual programming, all summer studio programs for youth and teens are currently scheduled to meet in-person. For virtual learning and online resources, please visit https://www.vmfa.museum/learn.

I’m having trouble registering – what do I do?

First, check availability online. Select the “Register Now” button for the class or event you are trying to register for – if the next screen says “No times are available for this date. Please try another date.” then it is sold out.
If you are having trouble with your VMFA membership or Member ID, contact the Membership Department at 804.340.1520 or membership@vmfa.museum.
For other inquiries, or to register by phone, contact Visitor Services at 804.340.1405.

What if my child doesn’t meet the age requirement for the class they want to take?

Camps and classes are tailored to specific age groups, with age appropriate projects and supplies. We also find that peers prefer to be with students closer to their own age, particularly teens. Please do not register for a program that is designed for a different age group. Look for another class or wait until they are old enough. Contact youthstudio@vmfa.museum for questions.

 It seems like everything we want is full – is there a waitlist?

Yes, please email visitorservices@vmfa.museum with the following information: 

    • Name
    • Title & Start date of camp/class 
    • VMFA Member ID, if applicable
    • Email
    • Phone 
    • # of spots you need


For general museum information about COVID-19, visit www.vmfa.museum/covid-19


VMFA Camp Staff is committed to providing a safe and healthy space for our students, teachers, staff, volunteers, and visitors. While there is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 during any in-person program, we take serious effort to mitigate this exposure. Camps and classes have been modified based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health, and other trusted resources. Some of our most effective practices include mask wearing, physical distancing, hand washing, frequent cleaning, and limiting the number of individuals per space. Furthermore, no teacher or student is permitted in the studios if they feel ill or have any COVID-19 symptoms or potential contact. 

Following K-12 guidance in Virginia, the museum strongly recommends the use of masks for all participants and faculty/staff in early childhood, youth, and teen classes and programs. Along with mask recommendation, VMFA will mirror K-12 school COVID-19 safety guidelines within studios and classrooms, including social distancing and frequent cleaning. Please note that unvaccinated participants ages 2 and up should wear a mask while at the museum. 

Please be aware that protocols for Youth and Teen Studio Programs are subject to change at any time. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.vmfa.museum/youth-studio/guidelines and click on the appropriate program or season.


Please self-screen prior to attending camp or class. If a student, caregiver, teacher, or other Camp Staff can answer “YES” to one of the following questions within 24 hours of class, they should remain home and notify VMFA Camp Staff of their absence. 

    • Have you or a member of your household been in contact with someone in the past 14 days with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
    • Do you or a member of your household have any of the following symptoms that cannot be attributed to other health conditions? 
        • Fever (100.4°F or higher) 
        • Chills
        • Cough
        • Shortness of breath
        • Difficulty breathing
        • Fatigue
        • Muscle or body aches
        • Headache
        • New loss of taste or smell
        • Sore throat
        • Congestion or runny nose
        • Nausea or vomiting
        • Diarrhea


While the following list is subject to change based on new recommendations and restrictions, here are some of the modifications and precautions we have taken in effort to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during our programs: 

    • Enrollment has been reduced to eight (8) or fewer students per camp or class, in most cases.
    • Properly worn face masks are required for students at all times, unless they need to eat or step away for a break. 
    • Teachers must wear a mask and/or face shield at all times.
    • Six feet of physical distancing is practiced, when possible.
    • Studio seating provides at least 6ft of social distance and/or a physical barrier so students can safely learn and create.
    • A “no contact” check-in process has been implemented, which includes a brief screening.
    • Teachers and other staff are screened prior to class. 
    • Only registered students and Camp Staff are allowed in the studios while programs are in session. To keep occupancy low, caregivers, siblings, and other visitors may not be permitted. 
    • Products such as hand soap, hand sanitizer, disposable masks, disposable face shields, disinfectant wipes, gloves, and other PPE are readily available to students and staff, as needed. 
    • Teachers and staff clean and disinfect studios, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces before and after each class, as well as during class, when necessary.  
    • Students do not share supplies or workstations unless these objects are disinfected between uses. In select programs, students are supplied art kits, labeled with their name, for individual use for the duration of the program.
    • Any materials used in class that cannot be properly disinfected will be either discarded or offered to students to take home.
    • In addition to proper ventilation throughout the buildings, all youth and teen studio spaces have individual air purifiers.
    • For safety reasons, water fountains are currently out of service. Students should bring bottled water from home but may also request bottled water, as needed.


    • VMFA Facilities Services thoroughly cleans studios, restrooms, and high-traffic areas; restocks supplies such as soap and paper towels; and removes trash and recycling daily.
    • Studio Staff uses approved disinfectant cleaner to wipe down surfaces while wearing gloves.
    • Areas such as check-in stations, door handles, tables, barriers, chairs, sinks/wash stations, counters, and reusable art supplies are cleaned before and after each class, and as needed while programs are in session. 
    • Disposable products are often used in place of high-touch supplies, when reasonable (e.g. paper plates as paint palettes).
    • All tools and supplies that can be reused, such as scissors and easels, are properly disinfected between uses.
    • Handwashing or sanitizing is required upon arrival and departure. Students should also wash frequently during class, especially after touching their face. Handwashing stations and hand sanitizer are available in all studios and restrooms.
    • Students are instructed to clean up behind themselves after each project. 
    • Items and materials that are left in the studios after class or camp that cannot be properly disinfected for reuse may be discarded; this includes artwork, snack bags, and other possessions that are left behind.    


VMFA Staff coordinates with Virginia Department of Health partners for assistance on guiding and advising us on appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our patrons, staff, and volunteers. Please keep in mind that protocols are subject to change.

If a student or Camp Staff member, or someone in their household, tests positive for COVID-19, all participants, parents/guardians, and VMFA Staff, Faculty, and Volunteers will be notified via email within 24 hours of being alerted to this possible exposure or before the next class meets, whichever occurs first. After an email is sent, you may receive a follow-up phone call the next day to ensure you received the message. 

Closure of the studio, restroom, and/or other areas where an individual with COVID-19 was present may be necessary for deep cleaning and disinfection. Based on recommendations at the time of the incident, the studio may be closed for 1 to 14 days.

A student who tests positive for COVID-19 cannot return to the program until they shown a negative test result and/or a doctor’s note to the Youth & Family Studio Programs Coordinator; are symptom-free and fever-free for over 24 hours without assistance from a fever-reducing medication; and/or has completed appropriate quarantine. They must also receive clearance from the coordinator prior to return, who will work closely with our Human Resources Department to ensure safe practices. Please email  megan.endy@vmfa.museum or phone 804.340.1438.  

A VMFA Employee, Camp Staff person, or Intern/Volunteer who tests positive cannot return to work until they demonstrate two negative COVID-19 tests. They must be symptom-free and fever-free for over 24 hours without assistance from a fever-reducing medication. They will also coordinate with our Human Resources Department for clearance before returning to work. 


Anyone showing symptoms such as a high fever, persistent cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell, will be separated from the group and required to leave the museum as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of symptoms, VMFA Staff may respond to the situation as a “positive case” and begin taking appropriate action. Attendees and families will be notified accordingly, and cleaning protocols will go into effect. Classes may be suspended as a matter of safety, pending further details.

Should a student become ill during class*, the parent or guardian will be contacted and instructed to meet in front of the museum or Pauley Center (based on the location of class) and remain in their vehicle or wait outside of the building. A staff person will bring the child outside and release them to the caregiver, upon checking photo identification. 

*A student who is symptomatic cannot return to the program until they show a negative COVID-19 test result or a doctor’s note; symptom-free and fever-free fever for over 24 hours without assistance from a fever-reducing medication; and/or has completed appropriate quarantine. 

Should a teacher become ill during class*, another staff member will take over duties and may relocate students to a different area. The teacher will leave the premises as quickly as possible. Caregivers will be notified right away and asked to pick up their children from the museum; VMFA staff will follow-up with further details and instruction when available. 

*In coordination with the partners at the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC guidelines at the time of the incident, VMFA Camp Staff will take the appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and patrons. The teacher will not be allowed to return to teaching until the appropriate process has been completed.

In the event that symptoms become life threatening (i.e. trouble breathing, severe chest pain, inability to stay awake, blueish lips), VMFA Security Staff will respond to the medical emergency by providing basic aide and calling for EMS assistance; Camp Staff will immediately begin contacting the parents or legal guardians, followed by emergency contacts.


For further questions about youth or teen summer programs protocols, email youthstudio@vmfa.museum or call 804.340.1438. 

If you have any questions or concerns about the museum’s operating status, contact info@vmfa.museum or call 804.340.1400.


Please note, as the COVID-19 situation in Virginia continues to evolve, this information and safety protocols are may change or be adjusted at any time.