Dec. 6, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez
A children’s arts space is heading to the Hunters Point neighborhood for the new year.
Playday, the name of the creative, educational space, will open its 5-37 51st Ave. location on Jan. 2, where it will offer classes on a wide range of arts, sports, and activities, including sculpting, drawing, art history, origami, ping pong, and architecture, for children ages 4 and up.
Gregory Okshteyn, Playday’s founder and a Long Island City resident for 16 years, says the idea for the site came after noticing that his children, 10 and 6, got little instruction in the arts and creative thinking in their public schools.
“I come from a very creative, artistic family,” Okshteyn, an architect, said. “Kids need exposure to creative thinking—I started to develop this concept and just really fell in love with it.”
What first began as a simple idea for a playground turned into a creative space for children, to be taught by experienced instructors trained in the creative arts and tasked with developing their own curriculums for Playday.
“I think kids will find that these people are amazing role models,” he said. “It’s important to have creative role models.”
Okshteyn brought on a board of artists and a child psychiatrist to help oversee and approve lesson plans designed by the growing list of instructors, with his own kids sitting in on development meetings to give their feedback on course ideas presented for the site.
The class subjects, to be announced in the coming weeks, focus on multicultural, creative activities designed to get minds and bodies moving. Classes on sustainable architecture, chess, music, and even weather and geography are examples of what’s to come. “The sky’s the limit,” Okshteyn said on the courses.
Inside Playday, designed by Okshteyn himself, a rotating gallery featuring works from several artists will be on display, and is partly designed to encourage children to think about a career in the arts. “It’s to say to kids that they can have a living as an artist,” Okshteyn said.
Video conferencing sessions with established artists will also be worked into lessons so students can get an idea of the day in the life of an artist and details on their disciplines.
Space to host birthday parties, which will include packages for a day of art classes and ping pong for kids, are also available at Playday.
For its opening, a total of four classes will be available, divided into two groups for children ages 4 to 7, and another for kids aged 8 to 12. Each class will have 2 instructors and one assistant for a maximum of 32 children. Instructors will have their full biographies and resumes attached to the classes they designed.
While a definitive list of classes will be released in the coming weeks, those interested can reserve their seats online now on promotion. A 10 class pack is currently valued at $280, while a single class for a new student is priced at $20. Other packages are also available.
Playday’s opening hours are set from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, with classes starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
For more information, visit Playday’s website.