Dancing, painting, music making, acting, singing, program leading … these are just some of the ways that artsy kids choose to spend their summers.
The pandemic hasn’t changed that desire to be immersed in the Arts. Most summer programs filled up quickly last summer after reopening and the same is expected this year.
“As we moved further into the pandemic, I think everyone noticed that it wasn’t just affecting us physically, it was also taking a mental toll,” said Brent Bellew, manager of Teen Programs at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. “Art can be a wonderful resource for inspiration or even therapy. It can connect and comfort us.”
The last two years have presented a challenge for Arts organizations in creating safe spaces that allow for kids to engage and benefit from the Arts… but they’re rising to that challenge.
Bellew and The Nelson’s Teen Council, made up of 17 students, have offered online and outdoor events, such as outdoor open mic nights and a chalk art festival on the museum’s drive.
The Culture House Conservatory of the Arts has implemented safety protocols that have kept their summer camps COVID-free over the last two summers.
“Families seem very eager to be enrolled knowing we make every effort to work within recommended guidelines and safety protocols,” said General Manager Amy LaGrone Sander.
The same goes for KC Clay Guild. Studio Director Louis Reilly said their summer sessions fill up quickly with families looking for safe, creative opportunities for their kids.
All the effort on behalf of the Arts organizations and eagerness on behalf of the kids comes down to some simple truth.
“Summer is a time to make friends, grow in confidence, find new creative interests or train in a craft you already love, all while engaged in fun activities without academic pressure,” said Jeremiah Enna, Executive Director & Founder of The Culture House. “The Arts provide all of that.”
Spotlight on Student Artists
Thirteen-year-old Emeline Dahl, of Olathe, has been taking pottery throwing classes at KC Clay Guild for four years.
“I enjoy taking the throwing class in the summer because I love the class, the teacher and the studio environment,” Dahl said. “It helps me to grow in my abilities and learn new skills and techniques.”
The skills she’s been developing are paying off. Dahl is working with her instructor to prepare pieces to
be sold in the Clay Guild’s Spring Sale.
“I am really looking forward to participating and learning better how to sell my work and getting to know the community even better.”
Sixteen-year-old Grace Gimotty, of Overland Park, has been dancing with The Culture House since age three.
“My mom would always joke when I was five years old that she did not need to buy me any regular clothes because I would always wear my ballerina tutu and tights 24/7 around the house.”
She continues to view her time at The Culture House as a priceless opportunity to express herself with creativity and passion.
“My favorite part about dance is how consistent it is and how I can express whatever I went through that day into my movements,” Gimotty explained. “Most people enjoy journaling to sort out their feelings, but for me, I can use my feelings and put it into my dance which is something so beautiful to experience. The instructors and summer programs at The Culture House help me to unlock my full potential and have molded me into the person I am today.”
Summer intensives have always been a highlight for Gimotty, who looks forward to the extra time in studio when she is being encouraged to be the very best she can be.
Seventeen students, around half of whom are high school seniors, make up the 2021-22 Teen Council at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The group has worked throughout the past year to make art accessible to their peers, even if a trip to the museum is not possible. They’ve created online resources, including fun tour videos available on their YouTube page (nelsonatkinsteens), and hosted outdoor events.
Heading into the summer, the group is looking forward to the return of outdoor Open Mic Nights, a museum dance and an art trivia night.
High school senior Xander Patton emphasized the value of investing time in the arts.
“I think the greatest benefit to engaging with the arts is the stimulation and the gratification that it brings,” Patton said. “In the summers specifically, you have a lot of free time on your hands and
the arts are one way that you can fill it.”
Young Artist Camps
Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner. Now is the time to be making plans for your children’s activities. KC Studio provides information on arts camps in our March/April and our May/June issues. Here are some ideas to consider!
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI PARKS AND RECREATION
Get ready for 10 weeks of fun at Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation’s Summer Day Camps! This year, camps include educational enrichment opportunities, crafts, games, art projects, recreational sports and more – all provided in a safe and healthy environment. New in 2022 is an Inclusion Camp option for kids of all abilities.
Visit kcparks.org for details.
KANSAS CITY YOUNG AUDIENCES
Kansas City Young Audiences camps feature dance, music, theatre and the visual arts rolled up into week-long full- and half-day camps for kids ages 5 to 13! From the popular Musical Theatre and Improv camps to the energetic Main Street Beats and Let’s Dance camps, our camps are designed to help children discover and develop their own creative talents while also building life skills like collaboration, communication and self-confidence. Spring Break Camps too! Need-based scholarships are available.
Learn more at www.KCYA.org
NERMAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Early Explorations (ages 5-7) and Contemporary Creations classes (ages 8-11) are interactive art learning experiences. Create original works of art in the museum’s studio classroom, and discover JCCC’s diverse and nationally acclaimed permanent collection and exhibitions!
Fees for single session classes are $15, or $10 for museum members.
THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION
Save the date now to have your Kindergarten through 5th grade kiddo join us for a week at HERO University where children will experience Super-HERO lessons from the greatest HERO of all – Jesus! Join us across any of our five Resurrection locations as we watch, know, and become….like Jesus! Registration opens March 1 for volunteer leaders and April 1 for all.
More information at www.cor.org/vbc