Sculpture School retools for summer

Sculpture School, Fayston, creator of summer fun for local and visiting young makers, is retooling this year’s offerings with smaller groups and more freeform learning, according to founder and director Eddie Merma.

Merma’s Sculpture School is known for extravaganzas such as its Warren Fourth of July parade float and escape rooms built at Knoll Farm, Edgcomb Barn and Sugarbush Health and Recreation Club, derby races, boat building and more.

Normally Merma’s summer camp session capacity is 14 students; during the school year he works with 10 to 12 students. He adds staff to help him in the summer. This year his programs will be offered to groups of no more than 10 kids. Programming will be offered outside during July and August. During July, programming will only be offered to Mad River Valley families due to the current need for those coming into the state to quarantine for 14 days.

Merma will be reaching out to survey families about program structure and see if parents feel it is safe for kids to attend. He plans to comply with Vermont Department of Health guidelines regarding facial coverings, which he said will be the most challenging issue.

“My current thinking is that this year things will be more freeform. I’ll let kids choose what they’re going to do and respond more to what they’re feeling,” he said.

Programming this summer will be more emergent and in the moment and will include more physical activity plus activities that are more appropriate for solo work, he said.

“Usually we work more collaboratively, but this year maybe everyone will work on their own projects,” he said, adding that all kids will have their own set of eye protection and face protection.

Merma is also working on some online programming as well as kits to build projects at home plus art classes.

“I just made an online instructional video showing kids how to build a work bench for a building project. I cut the materials in the shop and people came by and picked it up and used the video to do the work,” Merma explained.