Local arts groups coordinate online camps for kids

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SCREEN TIME Students can take a filmmaking bootcamp from home with Alexander Valley Film Society, one of several online kids camps happening this summer. photo courtesy Alexander Valley Film Society

Three Sonoma County arts and education organizations are coordinating their summer schedules this year to collectively provide North Bay students with seven weeks worth of virtual summer arts camps.

The Alexander Valley Film Society, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and Transcendence Theatre Company are engaging local youth with online arts experiences in their respective disciplines this summer, running consecutively to keep the kids busy all season.

“The collaboration is in the scheduling,” says Ashleigh Worley, director of education and community engagement at Luther Burbank Center. “The camps are independently run, and we’re working together so kids can participate in all three.”

First, the AVFS Filmmaking Bootcamp, running June 22–26 and led by Sonoma County–based writer/director and film educator Malinalli Lopez, welcomes students grades 5–12 to learn the basics of filmmaking over Zoom, using smartphones to creatively capture their story. Students then continue to film the rest of the summer camps for the final Editing Bootcamp that happens in August.

“The reason the three of us collaborated was to give families a sure-fire schedule that they could put into their calendars now and count on in the months to come,” says Alexander Valley Film Society founder and executive director Kathryn Hecht. “We want kids to stay engaged, meet new people and try to prevent much of that learning slide that is supposed to happen in the summer anyways.”

After the initial AVFS bootcamp, students can participate in LBC’s Summer Arts Sampler Camp for students grades 5–12 that will explore music in the form of ukulele, percussion and hip-hop dance in three available sessions, June 29–July 3, July 6–10 and July 13–17. The center’s instrument lending library will be open for students who don’t have a ukulele, and there is no skill requirement to attend the virtual camps.

From there, students ages 7–12 can also choose to attend Transcendence Theatre Company’s virtual camp, July 27–31, that focuses on musical theater, improvisation, dance and movement. TTC is also hosting a Virtual Teen Intensive Camp for ages 13–18 a week earlier.

The AVFS and the LBC camps are free to attend. Transcendence Theatre Company is charging a modest fee, $35–$100, though TTC has several need-based scholarships available for students on their website.

“This is a collective mission of our arts organizations in the county,” says Transcendence Theatre Company director of education and community engagement Nikko Kimzin. “I think arts are sometimes viewed as the side dish and not the main meal. We are trying to band together to say, especially in this time, connection and creating things as a group is a necessity for the mental health of our youth. The arts can be a main meal when it comes to that.”

The Alexander Valley Film Society, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and Transcendence Theatre Company virtual summer arts camps run June 22–Aug 7. Registration is required for each camp. Avfilmsociety.org; lutherburbankcenter.org; bestnightever.org.

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