Summer Arts Academy

Tristyn Villaverde glazes a pot during the (10-13) Ceramics class at the Desert Vista Summer Arts Academy on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Desert Vista High School is currently in its first session of its Summer Arts Academy, which gives students the ability to mold their artistic talents.

The Summer Arts Academy is open to elementary and middle school students, ages 6 to 13 year olds, and offers more than 40 visual arts and performing arts classes.

Kristen Grippo, director of the Summer Arts Academy, said each of the classes were creative based.

“Every class explores the creative mind and expands that area,” she said. “The great thing about the program is that they can select the classes they want to take, instead of just signing up for all the performing arts classes or all the visual arts classes.”

The open selection of classes allows students to gain knowledge of a different aspect in art, and allows them to find an interest that’s outside of their core hobby.

Grippo said the Summer Arts Academy was a chance for young students to gain confidence on being in a bigger-environment setting.

“At first they are nervous because they are in a larger school, but after their first day we see the growth of independence,” she said. “They kind of gain those life skills along the way… they grow in our program with that essence alone. I get to see kids coming in at age 6 and see how they mature as individuals and as artists.”

The Summer Arts Academy also gives its students a glimpse of what they can expect from the visual arts and performing arts programs at the high school level.

“It engages them from the moment they walk through the door, and they are using their brain in a different way than they do in a classroom setting,” Grippo said. “I think that we are kind of losing the arts in high schools, and this gives them the opportunity to try these things out.”

Many students who went through the Summer Arts Academy have decided to volunteer during this year’s camp.

Volunteer Esther Decero has been going to the Summer Arts Academy since she was 10 years olds, and it has been one of her favorite places to be during the summer.

“I wanted to stay here and help out because I really like it here,” she said.

Gretchen Provlx also went through the Summer Arts Academy, and currently teaches visual-art classes.

“It was a really fun experience for me and I really explored my creativity and figured out that I do have a passion for art,” she said. “I wanted to join the program because when I was a kid I remembered that I looked up to the teachers and I really wanted to be one of them. Now I am, and I do what I love the most like helping kids, teaching art and finding their creativity.”

The Summer Arts Academy is currently taking registrations for its second session, which will be from Monday, June 16 to Wednesday, July 2.

Registration is available in the Summer Arts Academy Office, located in the A building at Desert Vista High School, 16440 S. 32nd St.

For more information, email

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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