Summer fun at home: Summer arts camps go virtual with programming

This coming Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, marks the unofficial start of summer. As the weather warms, we’re all looking for summer activities. While traditional day camps may not be an option for the kids this year, many Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) partners have found ways for kids to get the true summer programming experience through their virtual curricula.


“The organizations CAC supports have been extremely responsive by providing new kinds of arts experiences and learning opportunities during this unprecedented time,” says CAC executive director Jill Paulsen. “Many of our grant recipients have quickly adapted their programming to virtual formats, often with no roadmap to follow.”


Although traditional summer camps and activities are cancelled, and many pools and parks are closed, there will still be plenty of arts activity this summer.


“At a time when families would be typically signing up for in-person camps and summer activities for children, these organizations have stepped up to fill the need,” says Paulsen. “We are proud to support them.”


Here’s a look at a few options.


Karamu House: Karamu House Art Academy is hosting live, virtual programs for students in grades 7-12. The drama summer intensive. The program will offer classes in vocal performance, dance, and drama, along with technical theater studies like film and costume design.


Beck Center for the Arts: After switching all its arts education programming to an online format in March, Beck Center for the Arts continues to use Zoom and Google Classroom with its [email protected] program. Faculty members have put together more than 80 classes, 21 camps, creative arts opportunities, and a myriad of private lessons for the community this summer. The programs are for ages six months to 100 and are designed to make Summer 2020 the best summer ever—at home. Check out the full summer online catalog for your favorite creative outlet.


Great Lakes Science Center: Beginning Monday, June 1, the Lakes Science center will host a series of one-week summer camps through its Camp Curiosity @ Home. The camps will cover themes from engineering to chemistry to physics and robotics. There are camps for grades k-8, and all materials needed will be provided. Check out all the program listings and choose the camp that interests your child.


Cleveland Play House: The Cleveland Play House is providing free online enrichment programming for all ages. Classes include crafts or story drama for younger children, radio drama, musical theatre, and improv for older children, and even creativity clinics and book clubs for adults. The classes are sold out, but there is a waitlist. Fill out the registration form for a class and you will be notified if there is an opening. The Classes are free.


However, there are still spots available for the Play House’s InsideCPH series. Conversations with Guest Artists and Backstage tours and demos with the production team start today, Thursday, May 21, and runs through June 25. Both classes are being held as webinars.


Baldwin Wallace Summer Arts ProgramBaldwin Wallace Community Arts School: Baldwin Wallace Community Arts School presents a variety of virtual dance and theater classes to your home this summer. The classes are for students as young as three years old and for students ages 12 and older. Class registration ends on Monday, June 1, so find what interests you and enroll today.


Verb Ballets: Verb Ballets had to cancel most of its programming, but the organization is still hosting Zoom dance workshops and a variety of summer youth dance and movement classes and Summer Youth Classes Note that the registration deadline is Friday, May 29.


Cleveland Institute of Art: Cleveland Institute at Art’s [email protected] Academy is underway, and is available at no cost to Cleveland public school students in Grades 5-12 who want to learn the guitar. The classes run through July 31. No experience necessary. Click here to register. Other online arts classes for both youth and adults are also available at CIA. Check out all the summer offerings and register for classes.


Inner City Ballet: Cleveland Inner City Ballet offers professionally taught dance education to all children regardless of race, class, gender, or socioeconomic background. Because of the coronavirus, the classes are going online. Inner City Ballet hosts weekly virtual classes, Facebook Live classes, as well as events like Storytime with a Ballerina and Virtual Tea Parties. Parents must register with the parent portal to enroll students.


CAC organizations are constantly updating their summer programming listings, so keep checking CAC’s Events Calendar for additional summer events, classes and camps.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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