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Singing, painting, and making: students build skills at Summer Fine Arts Camp

Scholars become “better people, stronger learners.” 

Voices of singing students float down hallways while stomping feet and laughter echoes from a nearby dance class, and soothing music emanates from a room where focused students are working on paintings. 

The sounds tell a story. They illustrate a belief: “when students have the ability to make art for art’s sake, they learn to trust themselves and their ideas, and to think about things from multiple perspectives,” explained Chan’nel Howard, City Schools Fine Arts Coordinator. “The arts make us all feel better! The Summer Fine Arts Camp did that every day.”

For six weeks this summer, more than 100 elementary and middle school artists explored their creativity through dance, theater, visual arts and music at City Schools’ inaugural Summer Fine Arts Camp. In the mornings of this free, immersive experience, they worked on foundational skills like rhythm and movement. In the afternoon, they selected an artform to pursue, including music, dance and theater.

The Summer Fine Arts Camp is possible through funding to City Schools as part of the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds to address COVID’s impact on students. Creative experiences like the camp help children look forward to learning and being in a school setting, and give them productive outlets to express themselves.Student art

From learning the tape-painting technique used by renowned painter Paul Klee to jumping in and out of character on a stage, students found new interests and tried new things.

When asked to describe the program, Trinity, a Fine Arts Camper and third grader, smiled widely. “It’s like one big fun package of art!” 

“Because of the pandemic, many of our youngest scholars haven’t ever had an in-person dance or theater class,” said Howard. “Watching these talented students jump into these new experiences and express themselves has been a joy to my soul!” 

The Camp exemplifies City Schools’ approach to the arts for students: providing introduction to art forms at the elementary level, an opportunity to specialize in middle school, and the chance to explore a depth of study in high school. According to Otis Eldridge, Fine Arts Camp educator, “They have musical talent and desire, and they’re getting a chance to pursue that. This kind of thing is more than just for fun. It is a career avenue.” 

To close out the program, students welcomed families and friends to Baltimore International Academy for a performance and gallery walk. The results were stunning, and the impact is only beginning. To learn more about City Schools’ arts programs, click here.

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