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12 Artsy Summer Camps For Your Non-Soccer Kid

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Your kids not really excited about soccer camp this summer?  Never fear! Indianapolis has a fantastic selection of art, music and other more aesthetic summer camps for your creative child. Here are some of our favorites coming up this season. Sign up for your favorites now before they fill up and don't hesitate for the prices. Nearly all of these camps have scholarships and other forms of financial aid if you and your child have need.

The Indianapolis Art Center has programs for children as young as four years old.
  • The Indianapolis Art Center has programs for children as young as four years old.

1. Indianapolis Art Center
For sheer variety and flexibility, you simply can't beat the Indianapolis Art Center, which offers over 50 sessions throughout the summer for a wide range of ages.  The IAC's most popular camp is the Fine Arts Day Camp, a survey class that gives students a little bit of everything, including drawing, painting, pottery, photography, sculpture, glass blowing, and digital arts.  They also have specialized camps that focus on a particular medium. 

This summer, though, they have something new and special to present.  For the first time, high school students can enroll in Architecture Camp, a collaborative effort between the IAC and local architects and designers in which students will tackle a real-world design project from start to finish, visit building sites in the city, and learn techniques such as model building and 3-D printing.  Classes will be led by individuals in the field, giving students a real taste of the industry.

2. Herron School of Art and Design
"When planning a camp, I always ask myself, 'Is this a camp I'd want to go to?'"  That's the attitude of Susan Grade, Director of Community Learning Programs, and the care she puts into her job shows.  Taking advantage of their location on IUPUI's campus, Herron School of Art and Design provides students with the opportunity to explore downtown Indianapolis. "We take students onto the Cultural Trail and the Canal Walk to see public art.  This is not just sitting at an easel all day," Grade says.

Herron's Youth Art Camp is a multi-media camp, spanning a diverse range of activities, including drawing, jewelry-making, fiber art, prints, clay work, and digital art, and sessions are divided by age groups.  Students will learn about the contemporary handicraft movement, the concept of functional art, and the idea of making a living as an artist.  Grade adds, "We're also exploring the idea of art and activism: the idea that art can have a message and art can make a difference."  Each camp session concludes with an art exhibition in which students' work is displayed for their families and friends.

Herron also offers a second camp for juniors, seniors, and recent high school grads who have a serious interest in art and design.  Summer Honors Art and Design gives students who are considering art and design as a career the opportunity to get a real feel for what studying art at the college level is like.  Students will be able to work on building their portfolios and receive feedback and advice from Herron faculty, while at the same time gaining experience typical of that in a first-year college art program.

The Indianapolis Art Center has summer camps teaching pottery, painting and, this year, architecture.
  • The Indianapolis Art Center has summer camps teaching pottery, painting and, this year, architecture.

3. The Art Lab
As Indy's new kid on the block, The Art Lab wasted no time in joining the summer art camp scene.  This summer marks their second year hosting youth art camps.  Nestled in South Broad Ripple, The Art Lab is committed to enhancing their community through arts education.  All instructors are degreed art teachers and the Art Lab seeks to enhance that development by using art to help children problem solve, visualize ideas, and give physical form to those ideas. This summer, The Art Lab offers nine different themed camps, including pottery, drawing, painting, upcycling, and the enticingly titled "Kandinsky's Color Explosions."  What kid could resist that?  Camps are open to children ages 6 and up and are held throughout the summer.

4. Indianapolis School of Ballet
The Indianapolis School of Ballet's day camp mixes professional dance instruction with music and the visual arts.  Children ages 6-10 will be inspired by the impressionist works of Degas, make their own costumes, try out new musical instruments, work with visiting artists, and take a field trip to the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral.  And, of course, the School of Ballet's day camp wouldn't be complete without daily ballet, tap, and choreography classes--always a treat.

5. Indiana State Museum
The Indiana State Museum is hosting a variety of camps this summer, but we are excited about a Fashion Runway Camp for kids who like to put their own personal touch on their wardrobe.  Campers will have the opportunity to explore and be inspired by the Museum's collection of clothing and costumes and will then learn how to design an article of clothing, create a pattern, and then create and finish their very own unique garment. We just want to know if this includes the Star Wars exhibit. (Come on, ISM, that would be great.)

6. Butler University
Butler University invites all aspiring writers, poets, journalists, screenwriters and scribblers to their Creative Writing Camp.  Writers will be able to develop their talent through an extensive series of workshops including such wide-ranging topics as Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Children's Books, Journalism, Advertising, The Graphic Novel, The Blogosphere, and The Art of Twitter.  Campers will be visited daily by accomplished guest writers and benefit from the advice of college student mentors.

7. YMCA
An oldie, but a goodie, the YMCA offers a variety of creative art camps that really break the mold.  A few of their many options include Caricature Drawing, Claymation, Edible Art, Airbrushing, and Face Painting.  There's even a camp where campers construct an entire working arcade using only cardboard!  There are also more traditional but equally exciting camps offered, such as Photography, Pottery, Painting, and an Introduction to Guitar or Keyboards.

Girls Rock! is a summer camp for girls that not only teaches girls how to rock in a band, but also how to rock in life.
  • Girls Rock! is a summer camp for girls that not only teaches girls how to rock in a band, but also how to rock in life.

8. Girls Rock! Indianapolis
You'd be hard pressed to find a cooler all-girl (sorry boys, try this one) music camp than the one offered by Girls Rock! Indianapolis.  After receiving instruction in either guitar, bass, drums, or vocals, the girls divide into bands, write an original song, and at the end of the week, perform live in a public venue for an audience of over five hundred people. 

But Girls Rock! isn't just about music: it's about empowering girls to be who they want to be.  The camp emphasizes the importance of girls supporting one another instead of tearing one another down, promoting teamwork while building confidence. In addition to receiving instrument instruction, campers also design their own band logo, write a zine, and participate in workshops in silk screening, button making, and Photoshop.

Girls Rock! takes place just once every summer, so don't let it pass you by.  Girls need no prior musical experience to attend.

9. Indianapolis Museum of Art
At the Indianapolis Museum of Art's summer camps, campers will be able to explore the IMA's galleries, learn about the artists represented, and be inspired by the art they find there.  They then take that inspiration back to the IMA's Art Labs and get busy painting, printing, drawing, or building.  Each camp is completely unique, and topics range from printmaking to kinetic sculpture to film editing.  While some camps focus on a specific medium, others focus more on a concept, such as that of humor or emotion being depicted in art. 

10. Indianapolis Children's Choir
Are you ready to raise your voice?  The Indianapolis Children's Choir is delighted to present Choral Festival: A Summer Camp, where campers will learn songs from different cultures and play games designed to develop skills in rhythm, music reading, vocal tone, and harmonic skills.  There is vocal development in every choral rehearsal, but while there is a strong emphasis on singing--and singing well--there is an equally strong emphasis on simply having fun.

11. Quincy Owens
Local artist Quincy Owens, BFA, MAT, hosts art summer camps in his own artist studio at the Harrison Center for the Arts.  He describes his classes as unstructured and student-driven.  "I have never liked assignments," he says.  "I ask the child what it is they want to create, and we help them problem solve to find out how to best do that using the materials we have on hand."  His sessions are designed to encourage students to use critical thinking and creative artistic applications as part of the creative process.  The only requirement, Quincy says, is that your kid loves art.

12. Indy Parks
If there's an Indianapolis park near you, then the odds are you have access to some great summer camps.  Indy Parks happily offers a variety of summer camps for kids of all ages, such as pottery, theater, ballet, and general survey art camps.  Garfield Park in particular is home to the Garfield Park Arts Center, a wonderful facility specially equipped with an art gallery, performing arts spaces, and classrooms, but all parks have something special to offer.  Just be sure to check with your local park, as camps offered vary from park to park.

The Indianapolis Art Center is home to a wide variety of summer art camps.
  • The Indianapolis Art Center is home to a wide variety of summer art camps.

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