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.
What to look for:
- Programs that help to build and explore identity
- Experienced, thoroughly trained instructors
- Staff vested in getting to know kids individually