ArtsATL Teen Correspondents: Atlanta offers a bevy of opportunities for teens to engage in the arts

This article was written by one of our Teen Correspondents and was originally published on VOX Atlanta Teen Communications. Thanks to Turner Voices, we’re able to collaborate with VOX Teen Communications to share the perspectives of the next generation of arts writers with our city’s cultural community. 


Images courtesy the organizations: Circus Camp, Moving in the Spirit, The High Museum’s Teen Team, Girls Rock Camp, The Wren’s Nest, Collision at the Alliance Theatre and Re:Imagine ATL

When you’re a teenager, summer camp can be passé. But for teens looking for the next level in artistic summer opportunities, Atlanta has a number of programs geared to teach about visual arts, musical instruments, writing, film production and drama. No matter what your artistic proclivity, there’s something out there for you to enjoy.

Teen Team at the High is a group of 15 teens who help plan events for other teens at the High Museum. In the past, the Teen Team has organized a film festival and teen-specific art exhibits. They also help with the High’s daily summer camp arts instruction for little kids and get behind-the-scenes access to the museum. They often serve as an advisory board so the High knows what’s working for teens. In the past, teens have served for just the summer, but the program is transitioning to a year-long model. After submitting an application, teens are invited to interview. The final selection is made based on teens’ interviews. It’s free to be on the Team. According to VOX alumna Alexandria Wilson, 18, who participated last year, “What makes it really cool is that you get to meet up with a whole bunch of teens that all do art but all in their own way. Everyone had some skill set to bring to the table, but by the end, everyone developed new skill sets.”

Girls Rock Camp, now in its ninth year, is a six-day summer camp for 10- to 16-year-old girls.  Its mission is to empower girls through music education. The 9-5 daily camp is held at the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School. No previous musical experience is required. You can choose to learn how to play the guitar, bass, keyboard or drums. This year the camp took place from July 11 to July 15.

Collision Project at the Alliance Theater brings together 20 teens for three weeks each summer to dissect a classical text. Through this daily program, they rewrite a piece that combines the classical one with their modern perspectives. Past projects have seen the genesis of pieces based on AntigoneOur Town, and Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream Speech.” The teens also get to work with a guest artist who guides them as they create their entirely new dramatic work.  This year, the guest artist was Pearl Cleage, and the classical work consisted of selections from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The final show will ran on July 29 at 7 p.m. and July 30 at 2:30 p.m. jamaya nyansa*, 18, a teen involved with the Collision Project, says she looks forward to “meeting all the beautiful people and connecting with other serious teens that appreciate literature.” *jamaya asked that VOX use lower case. 

re:imagine/ATL hosts a filmmaking camp called The Green Room. The week-long program, held this year at the MASS Collective, is offered in two sessions, offers two sessions — July 11-15 and July 25-29. The camp is targeted toward 11- to 18-year-olds and costs $695 per session.  The organization also hosts a free program called Currents, which aims to help young filmmakers network with other teens and adult mentors. Currents takes place the first Tuesday of every month.

Susanna Spiccia, executive director, said in an email: “Through Currents, teens get to do hands-on demonstrations, meet other teen filmmakers and meet the professionals who are hosting… Past organizations have included The Walking Dead, Adult Swim and TUBE….”  The organization also announces internships and opportunities to be hired (such as in their music video camp).

Moving in the Spirit
is a youth program that uses dance to empower youth. While the organization is not hosting a camp this summer, it will be the summer of 2017. In the meantime, registration is open for next year’s program. The program accepts dancers from all levels and from ages 3 to 18. A unique feature of the program is that students take part in creating the choreography.

Circus Camp aims to teach children and teens circus arts like juggling, magic and trapeze. Though the youngest age allowed is 5, the camp is also for teens. Circus Camp also offers advanced aerial camps for ages 8 and older. The advanced camp offers training in cirque silks, lycra, trapeze and Spanish web. Location and price vary based on which session you choose.  Locations include Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and Decatur — and there are spots still available.

The Wren’s Nest
offers a publishing program for teens. Through the Optimist Review High School Program, teens can submit art, poetry, short stories and nonfiction. A group of teen editors then reviews submissions and curates content for a literary journal, distributed at the Decatur Book Festival during Labor Day weekend. Teen editors meet every Tuesday and Thursday in June and July, and they attend two to three field trips. Teen editors review submissions on their own time. The program is free.

And, of course, there is VOX Media Cafe — an interactive summer program where teens create their  own media. Teens have the opportunity to go out into the field and do active reporting with experts in the communications field. (You can see what last session’s teens were up to here.) Follow our stories online. Applications for 2017 will be available in December.

Related posts