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Students refine art skills at summer programs



Leo Quirk

Leo Quirk


Peri Brooks and Whitney Dawson

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Annie Liu (12) braved the blistering summer heat by sculpting works that expressed femininity and sexuality. She, along with other students continued to pursue their love of the arts over the summer by participating in a variety of intensive programs focused on theater, music, writing, or visual arts.

Liu attended an intensive, month-long visual arts program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for prospective art majors.

The program is designed to “simulate art school,” Liu said. Therefore, “it was really intense” to mimic the “art college vibe,” Liu said.

As an artist, Liu mainly focuses on “installation work for… 3-D sculptures and experimental painting,” she said. “I approach experimental painting the way I approach sculpture, which is considering mediums and their implications,” she said.

During her time at MICA, Liu took courses that would help her enhance these skills. While there, she “put political and social connotations of the news and current events into something more subdued, like classical art,” she said.

During the week, Liu spent nine hours each day taking Sculpture as her main class and Figure Drawing as her workshop while she worked on projects over the weekends.

“Before I went to MICA, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to art school,” Liu said. “However, I went to the program to realize that this is exactly what I want to do. I was really motivated all the time at MICA, and I learned a lot.”

On the other hand, Lisa Shi (12) attended the Iowa Young Writers Studio, a two-week long writing program in June that consisted of intensive educational writing courses. Although Shi is still unsure of pursuing writing as a career, the program allowed her to explore and enjoy the field more in depth, she said.

“I was introduced to a bunch of new authors and writing styles,” said Shi. “Generally I don’t have much time to devote to writing, but the program taught me that spending a lot of time and focusing a lot on your writing can really make a huge difference.”

Many students took part in theater programs across the United States. Destiny Wright-Butler (11) went to Belvoir Terrace, a six-week long summer program in Lenox, Massachusetts that offers intensive theater training involving classes and theatrical productions.

Although the past summer was her seventh and last year she could go back as a camper, Wright-Butler is thinking of returning as a counselor to help with stage directing, she said.

Mikayla Benson (9) also participated in an intensive theater program this summer at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan.

This year was Benson’s fourth summer attending Interlochen, as one of four stage managers of the camp’s production, she mainly helped with education.

In addition to teaching the campers the music they would be performing, Benson was also responsible for learning her own pieces.

Although Interlochen tried to incorporate aspects of a camp, they were still “treated as professionals” throughout the six-week program, “preparing you for the outside… like you’re in an arts academy,” Benson said. This largely contributed to Benson’s takeaway experience, she said.

“It’s very humbling to realize that there are many students just like you who are trying to work really hard in a challenging environment,” Benson said. As a rising freshman who plans on joining the Horace Mann Theater Company and looks forward to participating in school productions, Benson feels as though the work she did this summer at Interlochen will benefit her greatly, she said.

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Students refine art skills at summer programs