We believe kids are happier, healthier humans when they’re creating.
Why is Usdan one of the best summer camps in NYC?
The following principles inspire us and shape our programs.
1. Every camper, every studio, every summer
With nearly 70 classes and over 1,500 students each summer, Usdan guides every camper on a path of individual and creative growth, with the help of a team of artists and talented arts educators. The Usdan approach is distinctively interactive and hands-on, rooted in a balance between creative process, artistic practice, and craft on the one hand, and final product and performance on the other. Programs allow students to dive deeply into a single discipline while also exploring across multiple disciplines. Advanced students have abundant opportunities to deepen their craft alongside distinguished, professional artists.
2. Intentionally “both/and”
We’re designed for joy above all else, yet students learn at the highest levels. We make the forest wilds our home, yet campers and faculty practice some of the highest forms of culture. We are endlessly intrigued by the relationship between the messiness of the creative process and the refined beauty of work we call “finished.” We’re experts in classical thinking but devoted to innovation and experimentation.
3. A two-way exchange
We bring world-class teachers and visiting artists—actors, directors, playwrights, painters, sculptors, musicians, composers, dancers, poets, and novelists—to teach and collaborate with Usdan campers ages 4 to 18. It’s a two-way exchange, because we know experienced artists and young creators contribute to one another’s work and development.
4. A camp of makers
Campers show up every day excited and ready, thrilled by the sense of fulfillment they get from developing their own artist’s practice and connecting with others to create. Each camper’s personal experience takes on even more meaning in the context of performances, presented daily in Usdan’s Festival Concert Series, and showcasing the talents of campers in all disciplines as well as distinguished artists from around the world.
5. Diverse from the start
Usdan is a place that calls to the artist in everyone. We welcome campers at all stages in their creative journeys, campers whose personal lives and stories represent a multiplicity of ages, abilities, talents, races, genders, and economic and geographic backgrounds. All converge to create. From the beginning, we’ve encouraged young people to find their own voice and talents through learning in a diverse community.