WRITER | GARY GATZKE AND IAN JONES
PHOTO | INTERLOCHEN CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Summertime in Michigan nourishes the artistic spirit like nowhere else. Artists of all ages worldwide find inspiration and rejuvenation in the state’s expansive natural beauty and cherished institutions that foster creativity and a love of the arts.
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Founded in 1928, the world-renowned Interlochen Arts Camp draws thousands of young artists ages 8 to 18 from around the globe to its pristine 1,200-acre wooded campus each summer. Guided by distinguished teachers, emerging artists transform their passion and potential into purpose as they expand their skills in music, theatre, dance, creative writing, visual arts, and film.
A veritable arts oasis, Interlochen also offers lifelong learning programs for adults through the Interlochen College of Creative Arts. Thousands of annual performances for arts enthusiasts are made available through the Interlochen Arts Festival, which presents both major artists as well as concerts, plays, and musicals featuring Interlochen’s top student ensembles. Interlochen Center for the Arts also encompasses the Interlochen Arts Academy, the nation’s premier arts boarding school; Interlochen Online, the emerging leader in virtual arts education; and Interlochen Public Radio, comprising two public radio stations (classical music and news).
This summer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Interlochen Arts Camp will operate at reduced capacity, implementing the proven health and safety protocols that enabled Interlochen Arts Academy to host nearly 500 students on campus this year. For students in grades 2-12 who prefer a virtual arts education experience, Interlochen will offer two three-week sessions of its highly rated Interlochen Online. “The joy, connection, and artistic breakthroughs that are intrinsic to the Interlochen experience have never been more vital,” said Trey Devey, president of Interlochen Center for the Arts. “We can’t wait to help emerging artists continue on their path of growth and self-discovery.”
One of Detroit’s many creative hubs is Cranbrook, home to a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary art museum, and a pre-K through 12 independent college preparatory school. In the summertime, Cranbrook’s over-300-acre campus welcomes more than 1,800 campers from 20 states and nine countries to numerous day camps, including specialty camps in art (grades 2-9), theatre (grades 2-12), and writing (grades 2-9).
In conjunction with the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum offers Create Camps for grades K-9 to explore contemporary and traditional arts and design. Campers discover hands-on activities in the studio and learn collaborative problem solving through observation and creation in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Camps are led by practicing artists, designers, and architects. Budding artists work on projects inspired by museum collections and current exhibitions as they learn how to view, discuss, and create art.
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp
Tucked away in the scenic southwest corner of Michigan’s Manistee National Forest, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp welcomes thousands of students in grades 5-12 each summer to its diverse programs in music, art, dance, and drama. The popular summer school was founded in 1966 and also encompasses a Summer Arts Festival of free public performances, arts programming for adult participants, and the Suzuki Family Camp.
Whatever the path or program, Blue Lake welcomes participants of all artistry levels, from beginners to the most advanced. “We strive to maintain an atmosphere where students who want to learn may do so in an environment that encourages creativity and recognizes the importance of each individual,” said Richard Erne, director of arts programs.
Knowing that the need for the arts, in-person learning, and all the experiences that camp brings has never been greater, the team at Blue Lake strives for all its programs to operate as normally as possible this summer but recognizes that coronavirus mitigation will likely require significant health and safety measures.
MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes
Each summer, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance Office of Engagement and Outreach presents the MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes. The one- to four-week summer residential programs engage approximately 250 pre-college and adult students pursuing excellence in music performance, music technology, musical theatre, theatre, and dance.
Students from across the country immerse themselves in the outstanding curriculum within each institute and also explore campus life and the surrounding city of Ann Arbor, including the Ann Arbor Art Fair. 2021 institutes include Center Stage Strings, Clarinet, Dance, Flute, Girls in Music and Technology, Harp, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Percussion, Saxophone, Theatre & Drama, and Vocal Arts.
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum Sketchbook Club
This summer, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University will bring back its popular Sketchbook Club, a virtual summer learning opportunity for young artists in two age groups, 6-8 and 9-12. Choose from eight week-long sessions taught by MSU students who work on the museum’s K-12 and family art programs. Each session encompasses two hours of online art-making each day, offering a new creative challenge each week.
“The opportunities that a summer camp provides to connect with others is more important now than ever, and that connection is foundational to Sketchbook Club,” said Morgan Butts, director of communications for the museum. “Not only are you learning about art and artists while building your artistic skills, but you’re also making and sharing together with other creative kids from all over.”
Michigan’s state motto, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you,” could easily be applied to the state’s abundant arts education opportunities. Organizations like the Michigan Youth Arts Association, the Michigan Art Education Association, and the Northwest Michigan Arts and Culture Network help students, artists, arts leaders, and arts organizations connect to their creative communities and bring enhanced exposure and importance to the arts. Look about you and discover why creatives of all ages find their artistic home in Michigan.
Interlochen Arts Camp: Camp.Interlochen.org
Interlochen Online: Online.Interlochen.org
Cranbrook Academy of Art: CranbrookArt.edu
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp: BlueLake.org
MPulse Summer Performing Arts Institutes: smtd.UMich.edu/programs-degrees/engagement-outreach
Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum: BroadMuseum.msu.edu