With so much emphasis on academics, kids welcome the chance to get messy, get moving and get silly. Art appreciation takes time, and summer is the perfect opportunity to encourage children to tap into their creative potential.
The Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT) offers summer camps for children in grades kindergarten through high school. Veteran ACT performer Kathryn Tollefson, a seventh-grader at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School said, “It’s great to have something fun to do in the summertime, and you get to hang out with friends and meet new ones.” For Tollefson, performing live has built her confidence with public speaking.
Michelle Rubino, ACT’s director, said during the school year, the theater draws far more students auditioning than spots available in each production. Participation in their summer camps ensures all children are awarded parts.
“The children get a chance to try it out, and become fully immersed in the varied aspects of the productions, including costuming, lights and props,” she said.
Another opportunity close to home is Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute Community School for Design and the Arts. The program is part of an initiative on behalf of the university to embed students within the local community. The school’s director, Catherine Fletcher, said the effort creates a symbiotic relationship.
“Our master’s degree students teach our community courses, sharpening their skills, and the kids have fun while learning about art.”
Their summer program offers a diverse range of art camps, including music, dance, performing arts, sculpture, painting, drawing, digital photography and more for ages 4 through 14. The camps kick off with an orientation for parents and feature streamlined drop-off and pick-up to avoid parking issues.
This program, Fletcher said, is especially appealing to parents who are looking for a rich learning experience, and also serves working parents with full-day options.
Summer arts opportunities
Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT)
Location: 5051 E. Elliot Road
Productions/classes: Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Wizard of Oz, Fame and Vocal Camp
Dates/times/costs: Visit online at www.azact.org or call (480) 705-9319
Herberger Institute Community School for Design and the Arts
Location: ASU’s Tempe Campus
Dates: Session 1: June 7–July 18; Session 2: June 21–July 2; Session 3: July 12-July 23
Times: 9 a.m.–noon and/or 1-4 p.m. (before and after care available)
Cost: Each half-day, two-week session is $275; arts classes $300, including supplies; classes are $50 off when registering before April 30
Kyrene Summer Academy
Art classes: Cartooning, drawing, painting, music and theater
Locations: Cerritos Elementary School and Altadeña Middle School
Ages: Kindergarten–fifth grade
Dates: Classes begin June 2 (Fiddler on the Roof production: June 7–July 1, 12:45– 4:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday)
Time: Half- and full-day options
Information/schedules/cost: Visit www.kyrene.org or call (480) 783-4044 or visit Kyrene’s district office at 8700 S. Kyrene Road.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Diane Meehl is a mother of three, a freelance writer and volunteer. Reach her at email@example.com.