By Becca Mansfield, MoCo Arts

Summer camps are back and returning for multiple weeks of creativity, safe connection, performing and fun this summer at MoCo Arts!

After a year of discovering the best ways to keep students, staff and families safe during the pandemic, MoCo Arts has successfully provided in-person and remote learning options year-round. The family-centered nonprofit arts education organization in downtown Keene offers two in-person multi-arts summer camp programs, serving children from age 4 through grade 12.

These camps will implement MoCo’s year-long safety and health procedures, going above and beyond federal health guidelines, and applying thorough cleaning regimens within their facilities. Physical distancing is required and masks must be worn at all times. Staggered arrivals, drive-thru pickups, and carefully planned traffic patterns with small class sizes in the building will also minimize camper contact. And daily monitoring of staff and camper’s health will take place.

Both of MoCo’s multi-arts camps include creative arts classes to explore the performing arts, visual arts, music, literature and much more! Children and teens can learn, grow, make friends and create lifelong connections through these summer programs.

“We know how important arts education and connections are for kids at this time,” said Marty Hennum, artistic director of MoCo’s Theatre Program and C.A.K.E. Summer Camp.

Creative Arts at Keene (C.A.K.E.) Summer Camp is an award-winning day camp for children in grades 3 to 12. This year, C.A.K.E. will be split into two cohorts: one group focused on performing arts (theater, dance, music, etc.) and another on multi-arts (video/film, writing, painting, photography, etc.). The camp will run in person for four weeks, from July 5 to 30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Monday through Friday). Register for one, two, three or all four weeks of camp. Half-day options are available for both groups.

In 2020, C.A.K.E. found fantastic success in offering a completely virtual summer camp experience, with opportunities for students to participate in daily classes and virtual performances. This year, MoCo is thrilled to provide options for safe in-person C.A.K.E.

One of the many things that make this camp unique is that it empowers campers to create their own experience. Before camp begins, kids get to build their own daily schedule by choosing from a wide variety of arts-inspired classes. For those interested in a virtual creative arts experience, MoCo will offer afternoon and evening classes such as the Art of Food, Improv, Dungeons and Dragons, One-Act Theatre, and Playwriting.

“Virtual C.A.K.E was really successful last year, and we are excited to provide safe, in-person camp options for children this year,” Hennum said. “There are classes for performers and classes for kids who would rather not perform. We are also providing classes for campers who attend in person or who would prefer to attend virtually. There really is something for everyone. We’re fortunate to work with some very creative and dedicated arts educators who come together for the kids and make this camp really special.”

Camp culminates with C.A.K.E. Festival Week, a week-long celebration of everything the campers create over the course of the summer. Each class will have features in virtual performances or galas to show off their hard work and the fun they created throughout the four weeks of camp.

For younger campers, MoCo’s CupCAKE Summer Camp safely introduces children to the arts. CupCAKE is a performing arts day camp for kids age 4 through grade 3 and will run for four weeks this year. Each week’s activities focused on a fun educational theme…

June 28-July 2: A Day at the Beach — Every day can feel like a beach day when using our imaginations! All performing arts classes will feature bathing suits and beachy tunes as we sing, dance and act in our outdoor classrooms.

Aug. 2-6: Fiesta! The music of Mexico will inspire this week’s colorful story of a child who goes back to the time of the Aztecs to learn to play ball.

Aug. 9-13: Weather or Not — We get a lot of weather in New England, so let’s make a show about it! Get swept away with art, songs and dances about extreme and interesting weather forecasts.

August 16 – 20: TOYland — Every kid dreams of their toys coming to life… with a little creativity, campers’ favorite toys will take the stage in this filmed performance.

“Our goal is to offer campers safe connection and creativity during their time at camp,” said Danielle Fitzpatrick, artistic director of MoCo’s Young Arts Program and CupCAKE Summer Camp. “Every day is infused with art, music, friendship, movement… and lots of fun!”

CupCAKE Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, with drop off times beginning at 8 a.m. Campers can look forward to doubling the amount of outside time, with fresh air and lots of water play! Children will have opportunities to make friends, all while socializing safely. CupCAKE campers will work together all week to produce mini filmed performances based on the theme of the week. Both camps will have small class sizes, minimizing the need for cross interactions, as well as limited enrollment to optimize space for social distancing within MoCo Arts’ facility.

Registration is now open for C.A.K.E. and CupCAKE Summer Camps. When registering for classes or camps at MoCo Arts, be sure to inquire about their tuition assistance program to see if you qualify for a discount on your registration fees.

To learn more, call (603) 357-2100, or visit moco.org.