Artistic pursuits and the entrepreneurial spirit rarely coexist in perfect harmony. They seem to occupy two different regions of the brain that may as well have space the size of an airplane hangar in between them. Navigating the world of show business while being expected to produce a meaningful body of work can be nearly impossible. Only a select few can pull it off in a tremendously successful way (looking at you, Chance the Rapper). So, let’s say you are an artistic person, how can you instill that cut-throat drive in your mind early on in order to bring your work to a mass audience?
NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts has been helping high school students prepare to study the arts once they graduate with their Future Artists summer program. Started 30 years ago with their Future Filmmakers program, it has expanded in order to include programs such as Future Music Moguls, Future Dancers and Dancemakers, and five other Tisch arts programs. The programs meet for 14 Saturdays every spring, with intense curriculums that mirror some of the classes the school provides to their first-year undergraduates.
“It’s essentially a full semester class but only meeting once a week,” says Patricia Pearson, the Associate Director, Special Reports at Tisch, “it gives you a sense of what it is really like to study the arts in college.” As she explains, these programs were designed to give budding artists an introduction to a conservatory experience at a young age and to erase some of the daunting and scary aspects that can be associated with it. “We’re really trying to show them that, yes these are very demanding and difficult things to study while in college,” she says, “but at the university, there is a huge network of support from the faculty and your classmates to help.”
Marat Berenstein, Program Director for Future Music Moguls, notes that the amazing results this program manages to get out of their students make it a far cry from just a regular arts camp. Every year he makes his students both write and record their own songs. On top of that, he makes them create marketing strategies and shoot their own music videos. The results have been spectacular. “Over the last few years, something has started happening,” he says, “maybe it’s just these kids are really talented. But more and more every year, these final projects are really good. Some of these (the student’s songs) are songs that are generating numbers on SoundCloud and Spotify!” In the past, the program has also had some A-list guests drop by such as Pharrell Williams and Kimbra.
One of his program’s success stories is Candace Lee Camacho, who also goes by the stage name Duendita. Since graduating from the program, Camacho has been chosen by Spotify to represent their new global campaign for their “Spotify for Artists” app and is currently in her senior year at the Clive Davis Institute. “If you’re interested in music, it (the program) kind of makes it a reality,” says Camacho, “it was really incredible.”
Although this program meets in NYC, Pearson has seen many dedicated teens from all over sign up and make the trip to participate. “We’ve had kids come in from Delaware where they get up really early and their parents put them on a train,” she says, “that’s really the only requirement, is that they are able to get here on a Saturday … it’s a commitment to study these fields.”
Applications for 2018 are due on Nov. 15th for the Music Moguls program and Nov. 27th for all of the others. So, don’t wait!