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The arts abound in area summer camps
How can you ensure your children will exercise their creative minds this summer? With most schools' focus on academics, artistic exploration often is not a priority during the school year. However, since research shows that studying the arts significantly improves academic scores, arts and academics should go hand in hand. Participating in artistic summer camps will open children's minds and allow them to explore and create. From performing arts to visual arts, our area offers a multitude of choices in artistic summer camps. A few of our local camps attract youth nationwide. Theater, music and ballet intensives at the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts are filled not just by Floridians, but serious performing art students from around the country. With dozens of summer camps and classes available for beginning to advanced students in music, dance and theater, the Patel Conservatory at 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa, 33602, offers one of the largest selections in performing arts training in the area. The Patel Conservatory's new Rock Star Experience camp allows students in grades five through 12 to create new music and play rock 'n' roll favorites on stage. Full- and half-day camps are offered for children and teens in everything from hip-hop dance to vocal arts, while adults can explore classes in flamenco dance, tap dance, guitar, musical theater cabaret, acting and stand-up comedy and more. Descriptions, schedules and prices are listed at www.patelconservatory.org or call (813) 222-1002 for more information.CUT MENTION IN AFFORDABLE CAMPS? Tampa Creative Camps is in a new space this year, but the focus on fun and creativity remains the same, says owner Jackie Toledo. "Arts camps give students an opportunity to do something they aren't doing at school, and to be as creative as possible," she says, adding that these camps boost confidence, strengthen teamwork and communication skills. All camps at Tampa Creative Camps, 3401 Henderson Blvd., Tampa 33629, incorporate magic and juggling. Theatrical productions will include "The Wizard of Oz" on June 29 and "The Muppet Show" on Aug. 10. Camps last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays all summer long, with three extra hours of before and after care available at no extra charge, so students can attend from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the same price. Campers switch activities hourly, allowing for sampling areas such as creative writing, group singing, mime, acting and storytelling. More information is available at www.tampacreativecamps.com and by calling (813) 410-5682. The Dunedin Fine Art Center, at 1143 Michigan Blvd., 34698, will hold 10 weeks of arts camps, each with a different theme, for children ages 4 to 14. Camps will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Up through April 27, the day of the center's open house, early registration discounts will be offered. More information is available by calling (727) 298-3322 and visiting www.dfac.org. At the University of South Florida, two camps will be offered via the school's College of Music: Da' "Bull" Reed Camp, June 10-16 for double reed players ages 12 and older, and Band Camp, June 18-23, for wind and percussionists ages 14 and older. Both camps offer master classes with USF artistic faculty, large and small ensemble experiences, day and resident camper options, each culminating with a final concert on the last day of camp. Registration is accessible at floridamusiccamps.com and more information available by calling (727) 641-6737. The Tampa Museum of Art offers half-day and full-day camps for students ages 6 to 14 throughout the summer, beginning June 18. A few subjects offered include drawing with pencils and charcoal; painting; sculpting with wax, wood and clay; printmaking; architectural modeling and mixed media. The aim of these camps is for children to gain greater appreciation and understanding of art and to develop a talent for self-expression. Discounts on camps are available for members of the Tampa Museum of Art, located at 120 W. Gasparilla Place, Tampa, 33602. More information is available by calling (813) 421-8373 and by visiting www.tampamuseum.org. Children ages eight to 14 and adults may enjoy art classes at the Pasco Arts Council over the summer. Clay pottery, watercolor painting, drawing basics and 3-D art are among the subjects that will be taught. There are eight Summer Art Adventure classes in all, held at the PAC art center located at 5744 Moog Rd, Holiday, 34690. For more information about Pasco Arts Council, visit the website at www.pascoart.org or call (727) 845-7322. Starting June 18, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, in its new downtown location at 400 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, 33602, will offer four weeks of interactive photography camps. Two weeks of camp will be offered for each age group of 7 to 10 and 11 to 15. One week will focus on creative approaches to the concept of reality, how we can look at something and make it look different from what was really there, says Joyce Zevola, museum manager. During the other week, youngsters will explore portraiture, creating frames for their work and learning about portrait photography. More information is available by calling (813) 221-2222 and online at www.fmopa.org. Two week theater camps will be held at St. Petersburg City Theatre, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, with the goal of putting on the following full-length musicals: "Annie," Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Each camp consists of daily classes in acting, voice and dance. An audition/monologue camp will be held June 11-15 as well. Before and after care is available for $5 per hour. To contact St. Petersburg City Theatre, located at 4025 31st St. South, 33712, call (727) 866-2059.