Art

Our Summer Art Program

Students learn from working artists specializing in their field of focus, from classic disciplines such as painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture to new-media fields like video game design.

 

Campers love Usdan’s summer art programs because our diverse class offerings allow for both deep engagement and exploration.

Seventy open-air studios dot the forested campus and create a sense of flow and community among artists.  Each studio is tailored to its medium with materials, equipment and software. Studios feature large skylights, as well as courtyards that take advantage of natural light and the inspiration of nature, which is a distinguishing feature of Usdan’s summer art programs. Throughout the summer, campers can visit the campus art gallery which mounts student, faculty, and visiting-artist exhibitions.

2019 MAJORS

Animation; Architecture; Art Adventure; Ceramics; Comic Art; Cosplay; Design Your World in 3D;  Metalsmithing; Open Studio for 2D; Pinting & Drawing; Photography; Sculpture; Sewing & Fashion Design; Video Game Art & Design.

2019 MINORS

Advanced Painting & Drawing; Art Adventure; Comic Art; Intermediate Drawing: Life Drawing; Intermediate Photography; Lego Design; Painting & Drawing; Photography.

 

2018 Faculty

Art Assistant

Melanie Berardicelli

Painting

Krista Biedenbach

A practicing artist and educator, Krista Biedenback’s passion has always been drawing and painting. She currently teaches drawing, sculpture and studio art courses at Hicksville High School and produces large-scale mixed media drawings and paintings out of her studio in Port Jefferson, NY. Krista’s past experience includes coordinating exhibitions for galleries in Manhattan and on Long Island, as well as serving as the Assistant to the Director of the Pollock-Krasner house in East Hampton. She is thrilled to be returning to Usdan this season for another summer of art exploration and growth with her students.    

Why did you choose to work at Usdan? 
Usdan is a magical place. From the beautiful surroundings to the enthusiastic students, it is a place for all to grow and learn from each other in the arts.

Bookmaking, Sculpture that Moves

Sharela Bonfield

Chair, Art Department

Saul Chernick

discovery art, painting

susan conte

Ceramics

Cristalina DeNicola

Artist/Educator Cristalina Denicola is a high school art teacher in the Brentwood Union Free School District.  A Usdan alumna and graduate of Pratt Institute, Cristalina is sculptor specializing in ceramics. She enjoys working and building with her hands, believing that there’s something beautiful about creating work that starts from flat 2D static nothing and transforms into a 3D artwork that shows movement. 
 
Why did you choose to work at Usdan? 
Attending Usdan as a child inspired me to become an artist/teacher, and I wanted to give my students a similar positive experience.

Photography

Jacklyn Eggleton

Painting, Ceramics

Jodie Embleton

Art Department Coordinator

Jodie Embelton

Photography

Julia Forrest

Usdan alumna and Brooklyn-based artist Julia Forrest works strictly with film and prints and primarily in a darkroom she built within her apartment. She currently works as a teaching artist at the Brooklyn Museum; Medgar Evers College; Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts; and Lehigh University. Her career includes time spent as Photography Assistant to William Wegman and as a Photography Instructor at institutions including Lehigh University, Elders Share the Arts, Neward Museum and Medgar Evers College. 

Why did you choose to work at Usdan? 
I learned everything about photography as a child there. They played a big part in my artistic career!    

discovery art, painting

Deirdra Hazeley

Art Assistant

Emily Kehrli

Sewing And Fashion Production

Sonya Korder

Usdan alumna and freelance fashion designer Sonya Korder is the founding teaching artist of Usdan’s Sewing & Fashion Design program.  Over the past few years, she and her team have focused on applying real-life industry skills to educational.

Why did you choose to work at Usdan? 
As a student, Usdan provided a nurturing and accepting environment where I was able to pursue my interest in the arts. I chose to return to Usdan's Art Department to be able to recreate those special summer memories with the next generation of artists and learners. It has been exciting to grow with Usdan!

Metalsmithing

Dana Neger-Lagos

Dana Neger-Lagos is a Master Model Maker, Jeweler, and Sculptor who has been teaching at Usdan for the past six years. For the first 14 years of her career, she designed and manufactured for the commercial jewelry industry. Designing and creating jewelry, belt buckles and accessories for companies such as Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, Nautica, Calvin Klein, Wathne Ltd., QVC, Susan Lucci, Jeffery Stevens, and many more. She is a working artist in Smithtown, New York and, for the past five years she has been teaching at the Art League of Long Island; Plainview Old Bethpage School District; and Long Island Libraries Adult Education Program. Her artwork can be seen at East End Arts Council, South Hampton Cultural Center, West Hampton Beach, South Hampton Beach, Gallery North, Art League of L.I.,Sachem Public Library, Sweetbriar Nature Center and the Johnny Coltrane Jazz Festival.  She has a BFA in Jewelry Design and Silversmithing from Parsons School of Design in New York City.

What’s the most unusual or interesting part of the teaching process? 
The most interesting part of the teaching process are the children and their interpretation of a project. I can teach 15 students the same technique and get 15 different and wonderful versions of that technique.

Sculpture

Reuben Lorch-Miller

Reuben Lorch-Miller is a multi-disciplinary artist with an MFA in New Genres from San Francisco State University. He approaches his work from a perspective of curiosity and experimentation, understanding that meaning is often found within the process of doing. For the past five years, he has been an active teaching artist with the Guggenheim Museum’s ‘Learning Through Art“ program; The Studio Museum in Harlem; the New York City Public Schools though “Studio in a School”; Eckford Street Studio; and Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts. He has also been a visiting artist and lecturer at Illinois State University (Normal); Rhode Island School of Design; Stanford University; San Francisco Art Institute; and Pratt Institute. Reuben has participated in multiple artist residencies and exhibited widely both nationally and internationally.    

What’s your most vivid/favorite memory of Usdan? 
Walking from the parking lot to the studio in the morning: The environment and the quiet...the birds and trees...also parading around the art area with our 10-foot tall collaborative puppet. 

Painting

Caitlin MacBride

2D Open studio, painting

Kimi Mongello

Filmmaking

Juliana Paciulli

Animation, Experimental Animation

Christine Roepken

Photography

Em Rooney

Comic Arts

Melanie Jackson

Art Assistant

Danielle Rubin

Art Assistant

Elizabeth Rus

Painting And Drawing

Sibel Selimler

Lego Design

Kelly Schulte-Smith

Kelly Schulte-Smith has been an artist from the time she was quite young — always dreaming, exploring, solving and testing different art forms.  A graduate of FIT with an Interior Design focus, she works across myriad media including crochet, bead weaving, wire weaving, resin, polymer clay, fused glass art, stained glass and mosaic art.  Kelly is a member of the Art League of LI, SAMA, as well as LI Craft Guild.

What will be your focus for the upcoming camp season? 
Mixing art with science working with Legos.
 

Architecture, Designing with Minecraft

Oliver Valle

Painting

Anna Vila

Sculpture/ Cosplay

Chris Vivas

Chris Vivas returns to Usdan for the ninth year this summer. He was selected for artist residencies throughout the world, including The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan; the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, AIR Vallauris in France, and Babayan Culture House in Turkey. And, his ceramic sculptures have been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. In addition to Usdan, Chris teaches at St. Joseph’s College and Suffolk County Community College.

What will be your focus for the upcoming camp season? 
Working with students to develop their own creations; spark their creativity; and offer challenging projects and puzzles tengage their minds as well as bolster their skill sets.    

Sewing And Fashion Production

Bailey Whitney

Art Assistant

Jordan Williams

Comic Art, Painting and Drawing

Laura Lannes

Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Laura Lannes is an award-winning illustrator and cartoonist living in New York City.  She graduated in 2015 from the School of Visual Arts, where she studied Illustration. Laura balances commercial work and passion projects including two comic books coming out in 2018: in the fall; one in the U.S., by publisher Retrofit Comics; one in Brazil, by Companhia das Letras.    

What are you most excited about for this coming summer season? 
I can’t wait to meet all the campers and learn about each of their particular interests and artistic leanings! 

Drawing and Painting, Discovery

Lauren Ruiz

Lauren Ruiz is a research-based multimedia artist addressing ecological contamination and the corrosive effects of human activity. Her research currently focuses on the amount of artificial plastics that exist within the human body at a cellular level, and on water scarcity and its relation to the civil unrest.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Fine Art and Film Production at Hofstra University in 2012 and is currently pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts at Stony Brook University. As well, she currently teaches beginning drawing at Stony Brook University.

What other departments are you most excited to collaborate with? 
I would be excited to work with the Nature team and possibly bring in some projects that look at the environment or recycling, as part of a more social practice project with the students.

Painting & Drawing

Annie Ewaskio

Annie Ewaskio is a Teaching Artist at Studio in a School and Abrons Arts Center.  She has participated in solo and group shows at galleries across the United States, including Elijah Wheat, GP Presents, A.I.R., and Underdonk (New York); Zolla/Lieberman (Chicago); Texas Christian University (Fort Worth); and Current (Baltimore). Her work has appeared in publications including The Brooklyn Rail, The New Yorker, and New American Paintings. Annie is the recipient of two Kossak Painting grants; the Jerome Foundation Travel & Study grant,; and the William and Dorothy Yeck award from Miami University. Her residencies include The Arctic Circle Program and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE. She has an MFA in Painting from Hunter College, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

What are you proudest of in your career? 
Getting funding to go to the Arctic for research, and going to Bemis as a resident artist.
 

Painting & Drawing

Courtney Surmanek

A multidisciplinary artist and organizer, Courtney Surmanek creates installation artworks,performance-poetry, and community-based initiatives exploring law, trauma, public space, gender, and sexuality. They are currently a Fellow of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics’ EMERGENYC program and The Performance Project at University Settlement. They received a BFA in Studio Art and Arts Politics from New York University, focusing on the arts as a tool for social change, and have participated in art residencies with The Art & Law Program at Cornell University, the Center for Artistic Activism, and Gibney Dance’s Institute for Community Action. In addition to having a robust teaching background they have exhibited work, performed, and organized events in venues across New York, including the Bowery Poetry Club, Islip Art Museum, Judson Memorial Church, The Knockdown Arts Center, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, the Living Gallery BK, the Lowline Lab, and Theaterlab. 

Why did you choose to work at Usdan? 
I am excited to work with youth at Usdan to continue my work closing the opportunity gap, instilling creative exploration and risk-taking in the youth I work with. 

Painting & Drawing

Tom Brydelsky

Tom Brydelsky in an artist living and working in New York. His mixed-media encaustic pieces have appeared in numerous publications and televised features on art and home décor, as well as in group and solo exhibitions and many prominent public and private collections. Tom is also a seasoned museum educator and has served at many notable New York intuitions including The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; The Queens Museum of Art; The Hecksher Museum of Art; and the Parrish Art Museum. 

Have you won any accolades/awards in your creative profession?  
I’m recently received the Pollock-Krasner Award grant  -- a great honor.

Video Game Art and Design

Jason Gorman

Jason Gorman specializes in game design, 3D modeling, virtual reality, augmented reality, digital video and special effects, web and graphic design. He has been teaching in the Art Department at Nassau Community College for over 20 years, and also consults as an art director and graphic designer for clients including Apple.  Jason is a founding member of The Achilles Project and was coordinator for its Faculty Training Seminars.

Who inspires you/who do you admire in the industry?
Anyone who takes a leap and faces his or her fears -- especially those who then return to their beginnings and help others to do the same.

Departments

Art

Art

Chess

Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Dance

Dance

music-summer-program

Music

Nature

Nature

summer-arts-camps-for-kids

Discovery

recreational-arts

Recreational Arts

summer-theater-program

Theater

Art

 

Campers love Usdan’s summer art programs because our diverse class offerings allow for both deep engagement and exploration.

Seventy open-air studios dot the forested campus and create a sense of flow and community among artists.  Each studio is tailored to its medium with materials, equipment and software. Studios feature large skylights, as well as courtyards that take advantage of natural light and the inspiration of nature, which is a distinguishing feature of Usdan’s summer art programs. Throughout the summer, campers can visit the campus art gallery which mounts student, faculty, and visiting-artist exhibitions.

2019 MAJORS

Animation; Architecture; Art Adventure; Ceramics; Comic Art; Cosplay; Design Your World in 3D;  Metalsmithing; Open Studio for 2D; Pinting & Drawing; Photography; Sculpture; Sewing & Fashion Design; Video Game Art & Design.

2019 MINORS

Advanced Painting & Drawing; Art Adventure; Comic Art; Intermediate Drawing: Life Drawing; Intermediate Photography; Lego Design; Painting & Drawing; Photography.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Chess

Usdan’s chess summer camp program follows the principles of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation and is uniquely designed to meet the needs of each student, whether they are new to chess or are experienced competitors. The Usdan Chess Ladder groups students in varying levels, from absolute novices to advanced tournament players. New players learn rules, notation, and the opening, middle, and end games. Advanced players develop a vast repertoire of complex strategies and the ability to apply them shrewdly in-game. All of our chess players benefit from improved problem solving, critical thinking, and concentration.  Students hone their skills through game-play and tutoring in competitive chess tournaments and exciting team competitions. Individual and group lessons are conducted by highly-ranked tournament players with decades of experience.  A major highlight of our chess summer camp is that celebrated chess masters come to Usdan to serve as guest teachers and share their expertise with our young players.

For more detailed information, please visit our Classes page.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Creative Writing

Creative Writing at Usdan takes full advantage of New York City’s pool of exceptional writers to lead our summer creative writing programs. Our faculty is comprised of accomplished authors who are also experienced in nurturing students in the discipline and art of writing.

Whether their preferred form is poetry, plays, short stories, novels, or non-fiction, our young storytellers get to practice their writing in small, collaborative groups. Working in peaceful, open air writing studios, our writers build imaginative narratives and find their creative voices, while experimenting with the core elements of storytelling like style, structure, setting, point of view, conflict and resolution.  One vital element of our teaching involves encouraging our students to experience empathy, both as an ingredient and a result of their writing practice.  Finally, all writing students gain invaluable editorial experience by shaping and contributing their works to a new installment of Usdan’s literary magazine, Painting with Words.

2019 Majors

Creative Writing; Making Magic & Monsters; 

2019 Minors

Creative Writing; Performance Poetry & Podcasting;

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Dance

In our summer dance program, our dancers study technique, classic repertory, and original choreography with nationally renowned dancers and choreographers. We offer classes across a wide range of styles and traditions, including contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, hip hop, funk and tap. 

Instruction at our dance camp is rigorous, caring and fun.  Our studios are spacious and mirrored, with soft floors and generous skylights that give an open-air effect. Each class culminates in a freshly choreographed dance performance for the entire community, including friends and family, in the dance department studios or on Usdan’s main stage.

2019 MAJORS

Advanced Ballet; Advanced Contemporary; Choreographic Institute; Dance Adventure; Dance Ensemble; Intermediate Ballet.

2019 MINORS

Beginner Ballet; Broadway Jazz; Dance Adventure; Hip Hop; Intermediate Ballet; Modern Contemporary; Tap; West African.

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Music

 

Usdan's celebrated music program features four orchestras, four bands, two choruses, chamber and jazz ensembles, rock bands, and instruction in strings, brass, reeds, woodwind, and percussion. Piano, guitar, and ukulele students work on technique and perspective through individual and ensemble practice and performance. With classes for absolute beginners to advanced students, budding musicians of every level can find a place for themselves in our music department. Musicians will have unique opportunities to work and collaborate with contemporary composers and artists-in-residence. 

Classes, rehearsals, and performances take place in studios sized for each group and specialty. Throughout the summer, our music students have opportunities to present their summer’s work to family, friends, and the entire Usdan community. Select performances will take place in the McKinley Amphitheater. 

2019 MAJORS

Advanced Jazz Ensemble; Concert Band (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion); Guitar;  Intermediate Piano; Intermediate/Advanced Piano; Instrumental Ensemble: Traditional Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Contemporary Classical Chamber; Instrumental Ensemble: Jazz Ensemble; Instrumental Ensemble: Living Composers Workshop; Instrumental Ensemble: Silent Film Orchestra; Instrumental Ensemble: Rock Band;  Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Junior Chamber Ensemble; Orchestra (Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass); Vocal Ensemble; 

2019 MINORS

Absolute Beginner Brass; Absolute Beginner Guitar; Absolute Beginner Lower Strings;  Absolute Beginner Piano; Absolute Beginner Ukulele; Absolute Beginner Upper Strings; Absolute Beginner Woodwind; Advanced Beginner Piano; Chamber Music (Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Saxophone, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone, Tuba, Percussion, Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass, Piano); Guitar & Songwriting;  Jazz Ensemble (Trumpet, Saxophone, Trombone, Guitar, Bass, Drum Set, Piano); Rock Band; Senior Vocal Ensemble.

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Nature

 

In our hands-on nature program, students study the art of planting, growing and cultivating food by caring for Usdan’s own fruit and vegetable gardens. Exploring the flora and fauna in Usdan’s idyllic woodland forest allows students to understand the delicate relationships at the heart of Long Island’s vibrant local ecosystem. In an innovative course on sustainable art, students are challenged to combine art, science and empathy to identify creative and sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. Students also care for the Nature Department's pet snakes, lizards, and tortoise.

 

2019 Majors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Organic Gardening; Sustainable Design.

2019 Minors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Organic Gardening; Organic Gardening & Sustainable Design; Sustainable Design.

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Discovery

Play and exploration are at the heart of Discovery, where children enjoy music, art, dance and swim multiple times a week.  Rather than select a major and minor, Discovery students experience a special multi-disciplinary program tailored for their age group.  Discovery students experience the arts through hands-on practice with Usdan's esteemed faculty. Each class is led by a minimum of four adults who provide individualized attention and support.

Throughout the summer, Discovery campers attend select Festival Performances performed by professional and student artists.  In addition to the core program, additional activities draw from Usdan's diverse offerings such as theater, nature, archery, chess and photography. With the Discovery Center as a base, campers explore the arts together in small groups with dedicated college-age counselors to guide them throughout their adventurous day.  

Children from all over the New York metropolitan area choose Usdan’s Discovery program because it is a singular summer arts camp for kids who share a common love for the arts.

Typical Day
9:30 a.m. : Children are helped off of their bus by one of the Discovery counselors
10:05 a.m. : Music
10:45 a.m. : Snack
11:05 a.m. : Art  
12:00 p.m. : Swim
1:00 p.m. : Lunch / Supervised Play 
2:05 p.m. : Discovery Period*
3:00 p.m. : Ice Cream and children are brought back to their buses

* The "Discovery Period" is an activity that is scheduled weekly such as theatre or a scheduled visit to one of the junior/senior classes such as chess, archery, or sewing. 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Recreational Arts

 

The Recreational Arts program augments Usdan’s core mission to support campers’ creative development by encouraging physical fitness and an appreciation of the natural world. This comprehensive approach to our children’s creative, spiritual, and physical development makes Usdan unique among camps in our region.  Set in an idyllic woodland forest, our campus spaces are joined together by walking paths and are designed for optimal enjoyment of fresh air and natural light.  Across campus, students can enjoy nature walks, splash in two large outdoor swimming pools, play sports on multiple playing fields, as well as practice yoga and archery.

 

Each day, students spend a dedicated period enjoying a Recreational Activity of their choice. Each of these activities, with the exception of Recreational Swim, can also be chosen as a Minor.

2019 Recreational Arts classes

Archery; Beginner Tennis; Free Swim & Poolside Games; Gaga & Basketball; Instructional Swim & Poolside Games; Quidditch; Tennis; Yoga.

(Each of these classes can also be selected as a Minor, except for Free Swim.)

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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Theater

 

The dynamic hub of the Usdan theater program is the extraordinary Lemberg Drama Center, which includes an air-conditioned indoor theater, two outdoor theaters, and rehearsal studios, as well as costume, prop, and set shops. With offerings in both drama and musical theater, our students have several opportunities to experience the full of cycle of staging and performing a play or musical throughout the summer.  Recent productions include Into the Woods, Frog and Toad, Finian’s Rainbow, and Oliver!

High-school aged students may audition for The Usdan Troupe which presents one fully staged musical production every year.  Former company members describe it as "summer stock theater for teens."

2019 MAJORS

D.I.Y. Theater; Drama Lab; Matinee Idols; Musical Theater; Musical Theater Adventure; Showstoppers; Theater Tech Workshop; The Usdan Troupe.

2019 MINORS

Improvisation; Performance Poetry & Podcasting (also listed under Creative Writing).

 

 

 

For detailed class descriptions, please visit our Classes page.

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