Want to introduce your child to the arts? Here’s where to go in Whatcom County

Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth (BAAY) offers several programs in visual arts, music and theater to enrich the lives of children through exploration of the arts.
Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth (BAAY) offers several programs in visual arts, music and theater to enrich the lives of children through exploration of the arts. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

We invited community groups and businesses that serve children 12 and younger to submit their information for this list. Send information or updates for next year to newsroom@bellinghamherald.com. We invite you to add your listings for this year in the story comments on this list.


Art with B. Calvert: 1803 Kok Road, Lynden, artwithbcalvert.blogspot.com, 360-318-0970.

Brenda Calvert teaches eight classes a week for kids and one adult class a week at her Lynden home art studio. Wednesday through Saturday classes meet three weeks each month, using a different medium each month, including, painting, clay, pastels, drawing and scratch art. Tuition varies. A one-month commitment is needed, but most kids stay September to May. Sign up for your preferred class time, viewable online.

Ballet Bellingham: 1405 Fraser St., Suite 103, Bellingham, balletbellingham.com, 360-746-8508.

Ballet Bellingham offers classical ballet classes for dancers of all abilities age 3 and older. The curriculum teaches ballet technique in a progressive sequence appropriate to each student’s ability.

Bellingham Academy of Music: 232 E. Champion St., Bellingham, bellingham-music.com, 360-676-8742.

Bellingham Academy of Music offers private music lessons year-round in piano, guitar, violin/viola, cello, flute and voice. The teachers are highly qualified professional musicians and teachers, and students are provided recitals and workshops.

BellinghamART: 1701 Ellis St., Studio 203, Bellingham, bellinghamart.com, 360-738-8379, info@bellinghamart.com.

BellinghamArt has more than 13 years of experience teaching drawing and painting to children, teens and adults through a range of classes, workshops and week-long camps. Learning the basics provides an appreciation for art and world cultures, tools for creativity, problem-solving skills and pride in artistic accomplishments. Drawing is a foundation for visual art and a fundamental way of understanding the world. Quality art materials and tools are provided for each class. Classic art instruction for those who want to explore their creativity and develop confidence in art skills.

Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth: 1059 N. State St., Bellingham, baay.org, 360-306-8531.

Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth, known as BAAY, was established by David Post in 2006 to enrich the lives of children through exploration of the arts. It offers three programs: EduArts, after-school enrichment program currently taking place at 10 elementary and middle schools across Whatcom County; Bellingham Preschool of the Arts, an arts-focused preschool; and the BAAY Campus, a 120-seat theater in the heart of downtown Bellingham where music, theater, voice, art and dance programs take place. A robust community-backed scholarship fund allows it to extend programs to every child who can follow basic rules that support the environment of creativity and love.

Bfam 0828 Bellingham Girls Rock courtesy Morgan Paris Lanza
Bellingham Girls Rock Camp is a day-camp for girls, ages 8 to 17. Participants get a crash course in playing an instrument, writing songs, collaborating with a band and do-it-yourself recording, which culminates in a live stage performance. Morgan Paris Lanza Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham Girls Rock: Based at Cooper Lanza Gallery, 1415 13th St., Bellingham, bgrc.org info@bgrc.org

Bellingham Girls Rock Camp is a day-camp for girls, ages 8 to 17. Participants get a crash course in playing an instrument, writing songs, collaborating with a band, live stage performance and do-it-yourself recording. Campers do not need to have any prior music experience, and instruments are provided. Bellingham Girls Rock Camp is a member of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance.

Bellingham Music Club: Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 Texas St., Bellingham, bellinghammusicclub.org, 360-671-0252.

Bellingham Music Club offers free concerts at 10:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month, September through June, and monthly “Night Beat” evening concerts. The club encourages growth and development of music appreciation and performance in the community.

Bellingham Youth Jazz Band: Bellingham Senior Activities Center, 315 Halleck St. jazzproject.org, 360-676-5750.

The Jazz Project’s Bellingham Youth Jazz Band was created in 1997 by musician and educator Mark Kelly as a feeder program for local high school jazz bands. The group is currently made up of seventh- to 12th-grade students from Whatcom County schools. The band meets Wednesday nights at Bellingham Senior Activities Center.

Common Threads Farm: 516 E. North St., Bellingham; commonthreadsfarm.org, 360-927-1590.

Common Threads connects kids age 2 to 15 with healthy food through hands-on, seed-to-table cooking and gardening programs. In addition to facilitating school-garden-based learning in a number of Whatcom County schools, Common Threads offers after-school and summer camp programs focused on gardening, animal care, cooking and eating. Kids can expect to cook and garden each day and can also expect lots of age-appropriate stories, songs and artwork.

Discovery Music Academy: 2512 Meridian St., Bellingham, discoverymusicacademy.com, 360-527-9626.

Kids 7 and older can learn to play the piano, beginners through intermediate. Discovery Music Academy teaches students a classical piano foundation while having fun and learning at their own pace. The curriculum includes private lessons, a monthly group lesson, two recitals and two activities to learn from guest teachers.

Diventi! Music Conservatory & Performance Center: 1213 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, 360-738-7166, DiventiMusic.com, info@DiventiMusic.com .

Piano and voice lessons for all ages (private or group) starting at $12 per week, parent and toddler music classes. Musicianship group classes. Conservatory benefits and discounts.

Gabriel’s Art Kids: 2215 D. St., Bellingham, gabrielsartkids.com, 360-393-0107.

Arts preschool and after-school arts program through fifth grade, with a focus on the arts; visual, music, dance, and theater and self-expression.

Harper&I Dance Center: 209 Prospect St., Bellingham, harperandi.com, 360-526-2966.

Stephanie Harper and her staff strive to fuse the gap between the arts through ongoing performance opportunities, weekly classes and master classes with local, national and international professionals. For the child who loves to dance and groove to music there are classes available to ensure that dance is a fun and valuable part of their life. Instructors are loving and welcoming, always inspiring and making sure every student leaves class with a smile on their face. There are also seasonal performance opportunities for children ages 3 and and older.

Infinity Dance Company: 1897 Front St. Suite 201, Lynden, infinitydancecompany.com, info@infinitydancecompany.com, 360-393-1834.

Christie Apodaca Peetoom founded the dance company to inspire creativity and love for dance and life while teaching discipline and motivating each dancer to achieve their fullest potential and desired goals. Classes in jazz, ballet, tap, worship, hip-hop, ballroom and more are for youths 3 and older.

LuciaArts: 2706 Ellis St., Bellingham; luciaarts.com and on Facebook, 360-510-1979

Enrichment programs for Bellingham schools are now available for smaller groups, ages 14 and younger, in LuciaArts studio for drawing, watercolor, ceramics and multimedia, while discovering the elements of art with innovative curriculum. Movement and yoga activities may be integrated, based on group interest. Ideas for upcoming workshops and camps include exploring a topic from nature through drawing, painting and ceramics. Clay works, produced using basic hand-building techniques, may be kiln-fired and painted with glazes.

Music with Amber: Toddler + Preschool Music with Amber Darland

Bellingham Folk School, 1208 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham. Email musicwithamberdarland@gmail.com.

Join local singer-songwriter, performer and parent Amber Darland as she leads a creative and engaging music class for you and your children, ages 1 to 3 and 3 to 4 years old. These weekly 30-minute classes provide great exposure to a variety of classic children’s songs as well as songs you’ve never heard before. There will be instrument playing, singing, movement and plenty of fun. Instruments are provided. $40 per six-week session. Class is limited to 10 children (with accompanying adult).

Northwest Ballet: 1417 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, Suite 201, 360-714-1246, northwestballet.org.

Northwest Ballet was formed in 2000 under the direction of John Bishop and Maureen Skomerza for all ages. Students can experience full-stage productions of classical and contemporary ballets to audiences in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Renaissance Adventures: questnorthwest.com, 360-836-0386.

In Adventure Quest, children 8 to 14 become the heroes of an incredibly fun and dynamic quest, working together in a mythical and magical world. They experience the excitement that comes from banding together to defend their village, solve a perplexing mystery or negotiate a peace treaty. Wielding safe foam swords, campers play dueling games and act out challenges, such as fending off a bullying ogre or a band of pirates. Each week of camp is a unique “Quest” — an interactive story that engages campers’ imaginations while teaching them the principles of responsible empowerment, creative problem-solving and cooperative conflict resolution.

Shake Our Sillies Out! Music Time for Tots Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave., Bellingham, andreashupack@gmail.com, 541-218-6766, and on Facebook.

Andrea Shupack is a long-time musician and music educator. She leads music at two preschools, and has been teaching children for more than 15 years. Songs incorporate lots of dancing, movement, percussion and scarf play. Lap music games that are great for the tiniest ones, and larger movement and rhythm play great for older kids. Classes are open to all kids ages 5 and younger with an adult, Monday mornings 10-10:45 a.m. Classes begin again Sept. 11. $10 per session, $8 for siblings.

Bfam 0828 Spark
Jonathan Winter, co-founder and curator of the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention in downtown Bellingham, teaches students about electricity. Philip A. Dwyer The Bellingham Herald

Spark Museum of Electrical Invention: 1312 Bay St. sparkmuseum.org, 360-738-3886.

The museum is a center for education and enlightenment where students can get charged about science and discovery while surrounded by one of the most significant and complete collections of its kind in the world. The museum offers workshops in robotics and other opportunities to discover, test and be amazed by the world of electricity and radio.

The Dance Studio: 1820 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, thedancestudio.net, 360-734-1595.

The Dance Studio provides professional and challenging classes for students of all levels, but more importantly offers these classes in a positive, nurturing, and encouraging environment. Classes for pre-school to first grade: one-hour combination classes in ballet, tap and creative. The combination of styles allows students to learn the basics of ballet and tap, socialize with their peers and stay captivated for an hour. First grade to adult: one-hour classes in performance ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical/contemporary, musical theater, hip hop, adagio and one- to two-hour classes in ballet technique. Class structure for most styles begins with a warm up, stretching, corner progressions and center floor choreography.

The PlaySchool at Perch & Play: 1707 N. State St., Bellingham, perchandplay.com, 360-393-4925.

The Playschool at Perch & Play is an enrichment program focused on playful learning. The approach, blended with Reggio Emilia principles, encourages stimulation, challenge and experimentation that further the child’s development. Program is 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Lunch and healthy snack included each day.

Whatcom County 4-H Youth Development: 1000 N. Forest St. Suite 201, Bellingham; whatcom.wsu.edu/4h, 360-676-6736, extension 4.

Through WSU Extension, families throughout Whatcom County interested in becoming a part of a larger community of learners are encouraged to join 4-H Youth Development. The program fosters leadership, citizenship and life skills. Many adults and parents in the community serve as project leaders. Youth projects for kindergartners through high school include animal sciences, expressive arts, mechanical sciences, environmental studies and leadership.

Wild Whatcom: wildwhatcom.org, 360-389-3414, info@wildwhatcom.org.

Wild Whatcom is a nonprofit organization founded by experienced outdoor educators to provide innovative, experiential education in Northwest Washington. Programs include Explorers Club for boys and girls 7 to 14, Wild Whatcom Walks and Neighborhood Nature, an after-school program offered at elementary schools.