As kids head back to school, teachers and friends are bound to ask “What did you do on your summer vacation?” Most people have fond memories of fun days spent playing at summer camp, whether that be a sports camp, nature camp, or an arts camp.  Kids may perceive their weeks at camp as being a break from lessons, but parents know that learning and developing important life skills is a big part of the summer camp experience. 

Summer art camps give children the opportunity to flex their creativity muscles and build social skills by connecting kids from all different backgrounds.  As funding for schools’ arts programs is being cut more and more, parents are turning to arts camps as an alternate source for their children’s arts education.  The greater Cincinnati area hosts all different types of summer arts camps run through a variety of organizations.  The Carnegie, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and the Cincinnati Art Museum are three organizations that produce fun and engaging summer arts camps for children throughout the Cincinnati region.

Carnegie Summer Camp 2015
Rather than having different camps every week, the Carnegie picks an annual theme for its summer camps.  This summer, the theme was “Hidden Stories.”  Campers were shown three paintings by local artists.  Then, they selected one of those three paintings that they wanted to uncover.  With guidance from counselors, the children wrote a script based off of what they saw as “the hidden story” of the painting and created costumes and sets for their performance.  At the end of the week, all the campers came together to preform their original play.  This creative process teaches children about plot, character development, public speaking, cooperation, and much more.  By empowering campers with free reign for imagination and creation, Carnegie gives children confidence in their strength and capabilities.  The play that the children design and implement on their own becomes a source of pride for the campers.

In the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s (CSC) summer camp program, tweens and teens take on the world of Shakespeare.  Shakespeare Summer CampCSC camps run every week through the month of June, drawing in campers from across the region and beyond. Unlike many other summer camps, Shakespeare Summer Camp focuses on an older demographic of children: middle school and high school students.  Working with members of CSC’s Resident Ensemble, campers learn acting, stage combat, movement, and text analysis.  In addition to these performance skills, students leave camp with friends from all over the city.  Parents rave about the wonderful friendships their kids make at Shakespeare Summer Camp with likeminded children.  Campers’ personal growth can be measured by the surveys the kids take before and after the camp.  These surveys indicate that campers improve in confidence, happiness, and public speaking.  On average, students rated their confidence 22% higher, their happiness 10% higher, and their public speaking skills 11% higher after attending Shakespeare Summer Camp.  

CAM campThe Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) camps invite students to dive into the world of visual art.  Each week, CAM takes on a new camp theme, attracting roughly 145 campers over the course of 8 weeks.  This summer, CAM’s most popular camp was called “Material World.”  “Material World” camp explored an assortment of art-making materials, from traditional to experimental.  Because this camp covered such an extensive and broad subject matter, parents were eager to enroll children of all different ages and interests.  Parents are fond of CAM summer camps because of their educational value and irreplaceable resources.  Campers spend about an hour and half in the galleries daily, broken up into small visits throughout the day.  Then, they participate in activities and projects connected to what they learned in the museum’s collection.  Often times, campers are lucky enough have access to behind-the-scenes looks or sneak-previews at the museum.  Additionally, CAM’s location in Eden Park allows campers to experience and be inspired by the beauty of nature.

The Carnegie, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and the Cincinnati Art Museum and many of the arts organizations supported by ArtsWave’s community campaign offer wonderful opportunities for children to learn through art throughout the year.  Fueling creativity and learning year-round – that’s ArtsWave in Action.