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Central City camp offers world of opportunity

A Central City summer camp will bring the word to its door.

Hopestone and Dance Quarter's Central City summer camp will bring the word to its door with instruction in international performing arts.

Not every New Orleans kid will have the opportunity to travel to far-off places this summer, but one Central City summer camp aims to bring the world to its campers.

"The Hopestone Organization and Dance Quarter’s World’s Fair Performing Arts Camp will offer a quality arts education program with an international theme," said Camp Director Dana Reed.

The camp, for children ages 6-17, will feature classes in Spanish language, theater collaboration, storytelling, visual arts, costume design, and prop making.

And for the older campers: filmmaking.

“I’m very excited about this class,” said Reed. She added that the ultimate goal of the students is to produce commercials about the camp and what they’ve learned. The class will also have a social media component.

"The idea behind the camp is to keep the kids’ minds active," said Reed. “It’s not like a daycare, where kids just come and play all day. It’s very structured -- they’re learning; they’re continuing to learn the skills they developed in school, so they don’t have a lag in the summer.”

The World's Fair Camp was inspired by an exhibit at NOMA.

The World's Fair Camp was inspired by an exhibit at NOMA.

The inspiration for the camp came from an exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art focusing on world’s fairs through the years, Reed said. “So we thought that that would be a cool segue into different cultures. All of the teachers are required to go see the exhibit and learn about the exhibit as inspiration, or as sort of a kickoff.”

Reed said the camp’s culminating event will be a show in which the kids travel from one part of the world to another -- visiting the world’s fairs through dance, music, food, art and theater.

The concept also fits the camp’s personnel, as the camp’s counselors, all professional artists who have gone through teacher training programs, come from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds, Reed added.

The six-week camp, based out of Dance Quarter’s new facility (1719 Toledano St.), begins on June 10 and runs through July 19. There are also two three-week immersion programs available: the first from June 10 to June 28 and a second from July 1 through July 19.

This will be the first year the camp will have to charge a small enrollment fee, due to increased competition for grant funds, a development that Reed admits is troubling.

“We’re located in Central City; a lot of our students that we currently have just cannot afford to come to summer camp,” said Reed, “so they’re going to end up just being home doing nothing, just watching TV, playing video games, where we’re offering a great structure for these kids to learn all summer long.”

To learn more about the camp, to register, or to donate, visit www.hopestoneinc.org (if you're donating, please specify that it should go to the New Orleans summer program). Or call Dana Reed at 504-390-8399.

 Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.

Brian Friedman writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.