A summer of art

Entering its seventh season, Camp Arena Stage is one of the area’s premiere artistic summer camps in the D.C. area.

Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School hosts this camp, which offers a multi-arts program, including theater, dance, music, filmmaking and writing.

Students can choose from either a two- or four-week session for $900 or $1,600, respectively. Many choose to attend both sessions, for $2,400.

“Students move from class to class much like they’re in college,” said Anita Maynard-Losh, director of Camp Arena Stage and a 30-year performing-arts veteran. “Campers are able to choose between five different periods, including a choice period where they can do whatever they’re interested in that day, whether it be ultimate Frisbee or a special presentation.”

A new activity being offered this year is Chinese brush painting and calligraphy. Students can also try their hand at unique skills like fantasy writing, or creating their own Camp Arena Stage newspaper.

What makes this camp unique to other artistic day camps in the area is that every day, students can participate in a half-hour performance variety show after their lunch period. Students are welcome to dance or sing or perhaps share an excerpt from their writing.

“I remember one summer this little girl brought her trumpet to play at the show,” Maynard-Losh said. “She was so nervous when she got up to play that she couldn’t get a sound out.”

Maynard-Losh said that the campers called out to the little girl, encouraging her to continue. “It’s that sense of support and belonging that makes Camp Arena Stage special.”

Many campers who attend the program don’t meet fellow attendees under normal circumstances. “Some of our attendees have parents in the Foreign Service. Last year, 40 percent of our campers did not identify themselves as white — we’re a very racially and economically diverse program,” Maynard-Losh said.

Sometimes, a few campers call in to say they aren’t able to make it to camp because a parent has to go “in front of the senators,” she added. “It’s so funny because I say, ‘Oh, you mean they have a Senate confirmation hearing?’ ”

The camp gets its staffers from around the D.C. metro area, who are chosen based on their experience with young people, creativity and artistic merit. Many of are camp alumni themselves.

A small number of need-based scholarships for interested students are available, for the four-week intensive class only.

In addition to Camp Arena Stage, the Arena Stage Academy also offers a musical theater training company. The pre-professional training program is only for the serious student interested in American musical theater.

“It’s important for me that each camper has the best summer of their lives,” Maynard-Losh said “Everyone should feel recognized for who they are as individuals and artists.”
For more information on Camp Arena Stage, visit arenastage.org/camp.