As young people are developing their identity, summer arts programs provide a wonderful vehicle for self-exploration. “Art is a great channel for kids to express their emotions and uncover who they are,” says Sara Plachta Elliott, Ph.D., executive director of the Youth Development Resource Center. “Summer art programs help kids explore new interests and talents they may not even know they had.”

Summer Spark brings together an array of summer programs–from drum circles to improv to dance camps, punk rock clubs and theatre arts. Many of these courses are not always available during the school year.

Tapping into these opportunities offers a window into careers in the arts as well. For example, Heritage Works Art Works summer program provides job opportunities for 11th and 12th graders in arts and event management and audio and visual technology.

“In today’s world, people often make money on the side through an artistic practice, so cultivating an artistic talent can offer additional economic benefit,” says Elliott. “Even with a more traditional day job, a person can have a more rounded life outside of work using skills in fine art and performance.”

Summer Spark strives to uplift unique arts opportunities that highlight different kinds of learning beyond academics. Through these opportunities, youth can find and ignite their passions, get connected to caring adults and develop the confidence and skills to be lifelong learners.


5 Summer Fine Arts, Crafts and Performance Programs

On the Summer Spark Program Finder, there are a host of programs to spark your child’s creative interest this summer. Here are a few to consider:

  • Cranbrook Art Museum. Campers explore art, architecture and design objects through behind-the-scenes museum experiences.
  • The College for Creative Studies Precollege Summer Experience. A three-week program that helps high school students build their art portfolio and prepare for college in a fun, supportive summer camp environment. Students can earn three college credits and live on campus or off.
  • First Stage Summer Performing Arts Intensive – FREE. Youth, ages 11-14, receive daily training in acting, vocal music and movement/dance with Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. The program culminates with a showcase for family and friends.
  • Detroit Windsor Dance Academy. A full-day dance camp that keep kids moving during the summer months.
  • School of Rock. This Farmington organization offers a Punk Rock Camp, Classic Rewind Camp, Foo Fighters Camp and more that allow kids to learn, play and perform alongside other young musicians as a group.

What to look for:

  • Programs that help to build and explore identity
  • Experienced, thoroughly trained instructors
  • Staff vested in getting to know kids individually


Ready to find



Your child's program?


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