Deerfield Academy Summer Arts Camp is pleased to announce its 26th season for summer 2016! We look forward to creating another season full of choices in creative expression for campers ages 11-16. This day camp program is divided into two sessions lasting three weeks each. Each jam-packed camp day opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm. 105 campers are admitted to each session to work with over 20 counselors, providing a better than 5:1 camper to counselor ratio.
Campers divide their day between one sustained “focus group” every morning, and a wide variety of elective block classes every afternoon. Focus Groups are the groups that each camper meets with every morning for two hours. Each Focus Group has a set of objectives that revolves around a theme or a specific skill. Focus Groups present their work at Festival on the last Thursday evening of each session. Campers choose Focus Groups on the second day of the camp session.
The counselors aim to create focus group experiences in each area of the arts that will stretch the imaginations and develop new skills for the campers. Two or three counselors work in teams to weave insight and techniques across various disciplines. The themes and content of the Focus Groups change every year and each session. We believe this continual change contributes to the spirit of innovation at DASAC.
“Every morning you get together with a bunch of crazy campers and counselors for Focus to create a performance or visual masterpiece, which is then presented during the historic event called Festival!” —Sophia
On Wednesday, at 4 pm on the second day of camp, the counselors present eight or nine Focus Group themes to the campers. Campers are asked to list three Focus Groups that they are most interested in. Campers will definitely be placed in one of their three choices. We emphasize that every focus group is a golden opportunity and their list of three choices should not be looked upon as a gold, silver and bronze medal, with the latter two being less desirable. The process of distributing campers into focus groups is a delicate and complex procedure. We work painstakingly to create groups that reflect the campers’ choices and healthy balanced groups.
The block portion of the camp day gives campers the opportunity to dabble in a variety of areas and to revisit a specific studio several days in a session. Through Block Class opportunities, campers have the possibility of visiting every discipline area in the camp, or conversely, visiting the same studio every afternoon! Each morning begins with a “sign up ” time to choose the offerings of the day. Block Class time is also utilized for community events such as visiting artist concerts and DASAC presentations. The aforementioned Focus Group is only two hours of an eight-hour camp day. The camper will have expansive opportunities to make choices in these Block Class and studios every afternoon.
Each session holds a Festival for all DASAC families on the last Thursday of the session, beginning with a pot luck dinner at 5:15 pm and evolving into a show of visual arts and performances which are the culmination of the session’s focus groups. The evening ends by 9:30 pm. The Festival provides campers with the opportunity to present the fruits of their labor in a festive atmosphere. Mark your calendar now for this important DASAC event! Session I Festival: Thursday, July 21 and Session II Festival: Thursday, August 11. By holding it on Thursdays, we accomplish a more thorough sense of closure with the campers on the final Friday after the festival.
“Block classes are my favorite part of DASAC because there is so much to choose from. There has never been a day when I was unhappy with the available classes. There is a healthy mix of the everyday and the otherworldly when it comes to blocks, and depending on the mood I’m in on any given day, I can choose the class to fit it–be it writing love songs about inanimate objects, having a Russian tea party, or just drawing from a model.” -Sasha and Reuben
“Festival is when all of the focus groups finally reveal what they’ve been working on throughout camp. Everyone comes to a giant potluck dinner, then it’s on with the show! It’s stunning how much is accomplished in such a short time!” – Erika and Chris
“I’ve never had more fun or felt more at home than at DASAC. During the school year, I look forward to Friday afternoon. During DASAC, I can’t wait until Monday morning.” -Molly
“My daughter has blossomed into a much more self-confident young woman, one who takes artistic and social risks she never would have dreamed of taking before! She lives, eats, breathes, and dreams DASAC year-round.” – Camp Parent
In addition to arts activities, every day includes a Group Activity Block. The group activity provides a physical outlet and lots of socializing and community fun through: Ultimate Frisbee, pickup soccer, hiking, outdoor games, basketball and swimming in the Deerfield Academy pool, supervised by a certified life guard, and many more experiences.
DASAC’s philosophy is grounded in the release of imagination in the aesthetic realm. We believe and trust in adolescent creative energy. DASAC’s goal is to give support and boundaries to create a community where exploration and experimentation are encouraged, yet balanced by awareness of the disciplines of each craft. The freedom of choice is balanced by skill development woven into the structure of each day. This gives each camper an experience that includes breadth of opportunities with depth of disciplined instruction to serve creative expression and social awareness.
The Arts Camp utilizes the gracious campus of Deerfield Academy and its accommodating facilities. Hiking takes place down by the Deerfield River and on the Pocumtuck Ridge. Lunch is enjoyed in the dining hall, while the state of the art studio facilities are utilized for all instructional activities.