A summer place
Every summer, children who attend Allentown's City Arts Camp spend a week learning about dance, music, art and theater from masters in their field.
The 16th Annual City Arts Cultural Camp for Kids, open to children ages 7 to 11 and held June 23 - 27, exposes campers to learning experiences at many of the region's arts hubs, including the Allentown Art Museum of the Lehigh Valley, Allentown Symphony Association, The Baum School of Art, Civic Theatre of Allentown, Community Music School of the Lehigh Valley and Repertory Dance Theatre.
"Destinations! Experience Travel through the Arts" is the theme for this year's week-long event. Campers will not only travel to and from the arts buildings, but will learn about countries in Europe through the arts, music, dance, paintings and exhibits.
Jennifer Haltzman Tracy, co-artistic director of Repertory Dance Theatre, Emmaus, is one of the principal organizers of this year's City Arts Camp. Her late mother, Dolly Haltzman, worked with other Valley arts enthusiasts to start the camp. The objective of her mother was to immerse children in all the different arts that are available in their community.
"Too often, people don't realize the resources they have right in their backyard," says Haltzman Tracy.
"Every day, the kids get a taste of everything," Haltzman Tracy says of City Arts Camp. "They are walking between the different arts' venues in the city, being taught by instructors from each."
Haltzman Tracy wants parents to know that they don't have to have an artistic prodigy as a child to sign their child up for the program.
"You don't have to be good at dance, or art, or anything at all," she says. "You just have to want to try. And you might find out you really like something."
Haltzman Tracy believes City Arts Camp allows children to learn how the arts are inter-related. "The kids learn how it all works together," she says, "and at the same time they learn how to work as a team. At the end of the camp, they put on a performance for their parents."
City Arts Camp is open to children from the Lehigh Valley and beyond. The camp day runs 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
Here's an overview of City Arts Camp:
Allentown Art Museum: It's an adventure through time and history with "Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from the Glasgow Museum," showcasing outstanding works of art from the Middles Ages to the Renaissance to the 19th century; "Destinations in Painting," scenes of Europe and Asia from the 1860s - 1920s, and on to Spain and Francisco Goya's "Los Caprichos." There will be gallery activities in a relaxed atmosphere, art-making inspired by the artwork, ideas, influences, materials and techniques of artists on view, and a behind-the-scenes visit to see how art is stored and exhibitions are planned.
Allentown Symphony Association: Campers will get a backstage tour of historic Miller Symphony Hall's stage, and make their own music with instruments of Allentown Symphony Orchestra's "Instrument Petting Zoo."
The Baum School of Art: Students will experiment with drawing, painting and sculpture techniques, as well as different art media with a focus on visual arts traditions from around the world.
Civic Theatre of Allentown: With the theme of "All The World's a Stage!," students will learn about the craft of acting by participating in theater games and develop skills in articulation, improvisation and creative movement designed to foster creative thinking and positive risk-taking in a safe and respectful environment.
Community Music School: Beginning on the very first day, students start to play an instrument and read simple musical notes. They will learn to perform several songs in an ensemble, just in time to present their renditions at the end of the camp week for family and friends. A flutophone that students may keep is included with camp tuition. For students taking music lessons, more advanced music will be supplied.
Repertory Dance Theatre: Campers will do dance warm-ups and learn dance moves in different genres, including ballet, jazz, modern and hip-hop. They will explore concepts of musicality and elements of movement and choreography, including personal and general space, levels, and making shapes with their bodies. They will incorporate their new dance skills and try their own choreography to explore different cultures and destinations. A small and informal performance by the students will be presented June 27.
"These kids get to study with the best in the industry," Haltzman Tracy says. "It's really a one of a kind program.
"The counselors and instructors are true professionals in their discipline. Kids can try something new in a non-threatening environment. There is no judgment, no grades. It's just fun. They learn a lot and have so much to proud of at the end of the program," Haltzman Tracy says.
Deadline for registration is June 18. Campers are responsible for bringing lunch. For more information, or to register, call The Baum School, 610-433-0032, or email: email@example.com. Space is limited.