Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts Adds New Arts Programs and Celebrates 50 Years

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts, a Wheatley Heights day camp that offers a variety of specialty and fine arts programming, is adding new dance, art, and music classes to its offerings this summer. It will also celebrate it’s 50th anniversary in July.

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts, located in Wheatley Heights, will add several new arts courses to its program this year. The camp is for children ages 4-18. It will run June 25-Aug. 10.

One standout among the courses is the Choreographic Institute, designed for high school dancers who have an interest in creating dance routines. Students will create their own solo and group works while working with renowned choreographers, all with a focus on improvisation and experimental choreography.

Another highlight is a course on puppetry that will be taught by puppeteers from Puppet Kitchen, a professional puppetry group. In this program, students will learn to create a show the puppet group can then take on the road and perform. The course is part of Usdan’s artists-in-residence initiative, which works to get young people’s ideas into contemporary art and shown in venues outside of the camp.

Other new classes include absolute beginner guitar and piano, animation and comic art, Broadway jazz, and West African dance. New courses at Usdan are created based on what is growing in popularity and what students are requesting, according to executive director Lauren Brandt Schloss.

Unlike most other traditional camps, there are no camp counselors on staff. “Every class is taught by a professional artist who has a career in their art form as well as a career as an educator,” Brandt Schloss says. “Our chairs of departments know professional artists and what’s really important in the art form today.”

Usdan will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. At its annual gala July 19, alumni will perform music alongside current students in honor of the milestone year. 

Tuition rates for Usdan vary depending on which session is chosen. Scholarships are available based on both merit and financial need. “We have over one million dollars in scholarships that will be awarded this summer,” Brandt Schloss says. “We are very passionate about making Usdan available to people of every income level.”

Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts was founded in 1968. Made up of several different arts departments, the camp is situated on 140 acres of wooded land. It works to provide an arts education in a camp setting to children throughout the New York metro area.

Main image: Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts strives to provide an arts education in a camp setting to children throughout the New York metro area.
Courtesy Matt Zugale / Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts