Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts
|About||The Official Facebook page of Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts: America's Premier Arts Day Camp on Long Island.|
|Mission||Usdan is a summer camp where young people develop artistic skills guided by a professional faculty of celebrated performers, artists, writers, and teachers. Students participate in public performances and exhibits that reflect the high standards sought by the faculty, and they establish lifetime friendships with others who share their passion for creative exploration. The camp's philosophy is reflected in the phrase: "Lose Yourself for a Summer, and Find Yourself for a Lifetime."|
Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts is a not-for-profit day camp situated on 200 woodland acres (0.81 km2) in Wheatley Heights, Long Island, NY. Usdan opened in 1968 and now enrolls 1,600 students ages 4–18. Usdan has been declared a “Best Of” camp by TimeOutNY/Kids, and by NY Metro Parents. The camp has been profiled in the New York Times, Time Magazine, and in numerous print and online publications. Usdan's 40,000 alumni include actresses Natalie Portman, Jackie Hoffman, Olivia Thirlby, Stacey London, and Lisa Gay Hamilton; singers Jane Monheit, Taylor Dayne, and Mariah Carey; Tony-Award nominated playwright Michele Lowe, Grammy-Award winning producer Adam Abeshouse, Broadway personality Seth Rudetsky, Juilliard conductor Adam Glaser, and members of major American orchestras, dance and theater companies. The camp is named for the daughter of the late philanthropist Samuel Lemberg.
Usdan was established to provide children with the arts as a companion for life through great teaching and the camaraderie of fellow students whose bond is their love of the arts. The camp features more than 40 programs of study. The Music Department offers orchestra, band, chorus, guitar, chamber music, jazz ensemble, and piano. The Dance Department offers usdan dance ensemble, ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and tap dance. The Theater Department offers Repertory Theater, musical theater, technical theater, drama, theater dance, and theater adventure. The Visual Arts Department offers painting, ceramics, sculpture, metalsmithing, photography, filmmaking, sewing and fashion production, comic art, video game art and design, architecture design and animation. Other majors include creative writing, chess, nature ecology & design, and organic gardening. A special feature of each student’s program is attendance at the camp's series of daily assemblies known as the Festival Concerts. These are performances by distinguished artists and by Usdan students as well. World famous artists who have appeared on this series include Andre Watts, Yo-Yo Ma, The King's Singers, Earl Wild, Ruggiero Ricci, James Galway, Canadian Brass, Tokyo String Quartet, Emanuel Ax. Jazz artists have included Jimmy Heath, Marian McPartland, Billy Taylor, Randy Brecker, Bobby Watson, and Jane Monheit. Dance companies include New York City Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, the José Limón Dance Company. Cast members from current Broadway shows perform on this series, and many also work with students as visiting master teachers.
The camp is divided into four divisions based on grade level: Discovery - Grades PreK through 1; Partners in the Arts - Grades 2 and 3; Junior - Grades 4 through 6; Senior - Grades 7 through 12. Students have a choice of classes from the following disciplines: Music, Art, Theater, Dance, Writing, Chess, Nature and Ecology, Organic Gardening. Students choose a "major" class that meets for two fifty-minute periods daily, and they also have a "minor" that meets for one period daily. All students have an hour of recreation daily. The Center enrolls students for 3, 4, or 7 weeks.
Usdan’s modern campus includes 70 award-winning studios and theaters, including the campus centerpiece, the Andrew and Lily McKinley Amphitheater, a 1,000-seat state of the art theater for the camp's daily artist and student concerts. Other signature buildings include the Samuel and Lucille Lemberg Drama Center, with three theaters, six teaching studios, and costume and set shops. The Block Media Arts Center contains broadcast quality production studios. The Maurice B. Hexter Center is a recital hall and conference center that also houses Usdan's chess program. Art students exhibit the work in the Goetz and Hexter galleries. Usdan is a beneficiary agency of UJA-Federation of New York, and the camp is chartered by the Regents of the State of New York.