Arts Center's summer camps preparing stars of tomorrow


The camera phones were all set to “record” as parents and grandparents, siblings and friends prepared to watch the end-of-week summer camp performance recently at Black Mountain Center for the Arts. Campers aged 3-5 shyly mounted the stage and hit their marks. As soon as the music started, they were off, dancing and singing with abandon.

Campers from the Pirates and Mermaids summer camp show their families and friends what they learned during the recent camp at Black Mountain Center for the Arts.

“My husband and I were amazed at what they were able to learn in such a short amount of time,” said Ginger Boyd, whose two girls were in separate age-appropriate camps. “They learned two dances and two songs and still had time for play. We were very impressed, not only by the amount they were able to learn but by how organized it was.”

Three more camps are coming up at the arts center this summer. One, with an All-American Girl theme, will take place Monday-Friday July 24-28 for girls 3-5 and 6-9. Another camp with a Superheroes theme (popular with boys) will take place Monday-Friday July 31-Aug. 4, as will the camp "Just Dance."

Camps take place 9 a.m.-noon, and there's a performance for family and friends on the last day. The cost is $125. For more or to register, call 669-0930 or visit The arts center is at 225 W. State St.

The older group at the recent performance at the arts center was made up of girls ages 6-9 who had spent the week perfecting dance routines choreographed by Amy Maze, who leads all four weeks of summer camp at the arts center. The week-long, half-day camp is, according to Maze, “designed for fun and learning at the same time."

"These are all great, eager kids," she said. "It’s easy to learn when you are having fun. And I know the kids love to be challenged.”

Kylie Brown teaches private music lessons at the arts center and handles the music portion of summer camp. With guitar in hand, Brown explained the rudiments of rhythm and harmony while she led campers through age-appropriate songs that follow the camp’s theme.

Christi Penland’s daughter Ella dances with "Ms. Amy" at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts during the school year (Maze teaches seven dance classes to children ages 3 to 16). But in summer, those once-a-week classes come to an end.

“Ella loves Ms. Amy,” Penland, the office assistant at The Black Mountain News said, “and camp is a great way to keep her engaged and active during the summer, which is important to her and to me. She gains confidence and makes valuable friendships.”

“It’s the highlight of Ella’s summer,” Penland said.

Boyd, who just moved to Black Mountain from Tennessee, hopes that some of her girls’ camp friends will be in the classrooms they join in the fall. In the meantime," she said, "they start singing 'There was a little mermaid’ and ‘Titanium’ every time we drive by the arts center and ask when they can go back to camp.”