Culture vultures

When it comes to summer camps in Alberta, there’s no competitionbetween sports and the arts. There are far more soccer camps then thereare playwriting camps.

When it comes to summer camps in Alberta, there’s no competition between sports and the arts. There are far more soccer camps then there are playwriting camps.

But if you look hard enough, you’ll find that children of all ages, and even adults in some cases, can spend their summer learning how to paint or play the piano just as easily as finding a wilderness or basketball camp in this province.

Take the Calgary Arts Summer School Association (CASSA) for example. The registered charity has been running summer programs focusing on the arts since 1993 and has seen more than 2,500 students pass through its doors.

The Calgary art school covers everything from musical theatre and drama to singing and strings, and it also caters to everyone from small children to adults, which, according to co-founder Linda Kundert-Stoll, makes CASSA quite unique.

“A parent can take a camp together with their child,” she says. “Or a teacher can take the same camp as a student — that’s one of the unique qualities that we offer in some of our programs.”

Kundert-Stoll says, because of the school’s popularity, she and her co-founders have been asked several times to open the doors year-round, but it’s just not possible when most of the teachers have day jobs.

So for now, the plan is to stick with the summer schedule.

The kids will be getting their culture in Calgary this summer, but there are art camps to be found in the provincial capital as well.

Art Xpressed is a camp offered at the Harcourt House Arts Centre in downtown Edmonton. According to Terrena Boss, the art centre’s exhibitions and art education manager, Harcourt House has been receiving calls about their summer camps since January, and they haven’t even chosen their instructor yet.

Last year the camps were completely full with a few extra, and this year they expect the same enrolment numbers.

The Harcourt House Art Centre runs two camps, one for seven- to 11-year-olds and the other for 12- to 16-year-olds. Boss says the kids can expect to learn everything.

“Generally speaking, we’ll do sessions on screen printing, painting, and sculpture with clay; it does cover a whole broad range of things,” Boss says. “It’s about getting kids out and interacting in the art community. It’s meant to be a learning experience but it’s also meant to be a lot of fun.”

 
 
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