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Summer Art Programs

2-, 4-, and 7-week summer arts programs for NYC area students are offered each year. Based upon the student’s current grade in the 2017-2018 school year, Usdan students are divided into four age divisions. Please see below for program descriptions.

Below is a list of the programs available at Usdan as of the 2017 season. Programs are subject to change for the 2018 season.

Grade Age Division Programs Offered

Pre-K, K and 1



2 and 3

Partners in the Arts

Classic, Focus

4 through 6


Classic, Focus

6* through 12


Classic, Focus, Institute

*6th grade students may choose to go into the senior division if their schedule allows.


Usdan Classic
(Grades 2-12, 4- and 7-week programs)

Usdan offers introductory to advanced instruction in five arts disciplines (art, creative writing, dance, music, theater) and three specialty areas (chess, nature, and recreational arts). Our classic program gives students the opportunity to choose a two period major, a one period minor and a one period recreational activity for four or seven weeks.  Daily assemblies enrich their experience with performances by both professional and student artists.  Planned curricula culminate in a showcase of student work in week four and in end-of-summer celebrations for seven-week campers. Usdan Classic fosters friendship and shared enthusiasm among young artists.

Usdan Focus
(Grades 2-12, 2-week program)

Usdan Focus is a great way to explore in depth an artistic medium. Students choose a program of study with two complementary classes, totaling three periods, and have their choice of a recreational activity. Campers also expand their arts experience through daily assemblies featuring performances by professional and student artists. Each two-week Focus group creates its own microcosm within the larger Usdan community, making it easy for friendships and connections to develop. Students can add variety to their summer by sampling several Focus programs back to back or adding a session to their four-week summer arts program schedule.

Usdan Discovery
(Grades PreK-1, 2-, 4- and 7-week programs)

Usdan’s Discovery Program introduces students to the arts in several disciplines and media. Play and exploration are at the heart of Discovery, where children enjoy music, art, dance and swim multiple times a week. Additional activities draw from Usdan's diverse summer arts programs, such as musical theater, nature, archery, chess and photography.  Discovery campers attend select daily performances by professional and student artists.  Throughout the week, they are also given opportunities to choose activities based on their own interests. With the Discovery Center as a base, campers have their own small group and college-age counselors to guide them throughout their adventurous day of professionally-taught arts experiences.

Usdan Partners in the Arts
(Grades 2-3, 2-, 4- and 7-week programs)

Partners in the Arts is a special summer arts program for Usdan students in grades 2 and 3 that supports their growing independence. Partners campers are in Usdan Classic or Usdan Focus, just like older campers, but are escorted from class to class by counselors. Counselors are high school aged students in Usdan’s Leadership Institute for the Arts who are familiar with Usdan’s campus and programs. They are chosen for their maturity and rapport with young campers. Partners in the Arts participants meet their counselors at the McKinley Amphitheater each morning of camp and then proceed to their classes together. The Partners in the Arts program helps young students feel comfortable and confident as they learn, make friends and have fun.

Usdan Leadership Institute for the Arts
(Grades 9-12, 7-week program)

Tailored for Usdan's most senior students, our new leadership development program is unique among summer arts programs in the NYC metro area. It has been designed to cultivate thoughtful, independent young artists and the next generation of leaders in the arts.  Their day consists of a major, a minor, daily performances by student and professional artists, an Institute period and a job assignment.  The Institute period includes leadership training, sessions with visiting artists, freedom to work on group art projects, and opportunities for community service. Members gain valuable work experience serving as guides and role models for younger students and assisting in camp programs, performances, and administration.  Applicants are selected based on their leadership potential, following application and interview. All will receive leadership stipends for their work and be eligible for partial or full merit scholarships.

**The positions formerly called Music Staff Intern, Art Staff Interns and Counselors-In-Training are now offered through this leadership program.

Usdan Artists-in-Residence Program

Every summer, Usdan brings 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 learn from each other and contribute to one another’s work and development.   We've developed a summer arts program for NYC area students that builds on this premise.  Our artists-in-residence program aims to involve youth in the creative process as collaborators in the generation of a new work.  The goal is to harness the creativity, concerns, and intelligence of youth in contemporary art making.  Each artist-in-residence – working in different media – collaborates with a group of students through research and workshops to create a new piece.



Pre-register for 2018 and qualify for Return2U - a special membership for previous or current members of the Usdan community.

The Faculty is delighted to invite returning students to secure places at Usdan for the 2018 Season. We have prepared a fine array of courses, and hope that you will join the growing Usdan family. Full registration begins late November.