Midland Center for the Arts Launches Summer Camps

Even though the temperatures lately haven’t felt too much like spring, summer is just around the corner. For many local families with kids of all ages, Midland Center for the Arts summer camps are a tradition. 

Jennifer Kanyo, senior director of museums & education at the Midland Center for the Arts, is excited to have in-person summer camps. For many of the staff, summer camp time is their favorite time of year. 

Kanyo says the center has offered summer camps on a variety of topics for as long as she can remember. “We cover preschool all the way through eighth grade. We have summer camps that focus on theatre, visual arts, science, history, and music,” she says, “so it’s a full range of topics.”

Instructors are credible professors of their crafts, with impressive resumes and professional experiences in various disciplines.
Camp times also vary, including full-day sessions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., half-day morning sessions from 9 a.m. to noon, and half-day afternoon sessions from 1 to 4 p.m. Kanyo says the variety provides a nice introduction to the idea of a summer camp, especially if kids aren’t ready to stay away for the night. 

“It’s a good way for them to get used to being outside of the home, and get more comfortable with it. It’s scary to be with a group of strangers, and to not have your family close by. But at the end of the week, they love it and they’re ready to go with their friends, having fun. I really enjoy seeing that as well.”

“The kids get to come here, learn, experiment, and explore for five days during the week,” Kanyo says. “It’s a nice way to kind of explore different topics too, because the kids might explore science one week, and history the next. It’s a lot of fun for them.”

Some campers started attending sessions while they were preschoolers, and are now enrolled in elementary level sessions, a tradition Kanyo enjoys seeing. 

“It’s really nice to see them grow up, and continue to engage,” she says. “We’re a trusted camp program, parents trust that we’re a safe environment for their kids, and that we provide good learning experiences, but the kids still have fun. It’s summer camp, so there has to be that level of fun involved too.”

Some previous campers have even made a full-circle moment by volunteering or working as camp counselors now. Once students age-out of the program, and reach high-school or college level, they can volunteer in the classrooms. Many students looking for volunteer or work-related experience, or studying similar educational fields, make time to assist with the summer camps. 

Other instructors are credible professors of their crafts, with impressive resumes and professional experiences in various disciplines, including theatre, visual arts, music, or science degrees. 
The kids get to come here, learn, experiment, and explore.Kanyo says the mission of all the summer camps is to provide students with an experience to learn, and explore a passion. 

“The goal is to really keep learning alive throughout the summer,” she says. “Summer camps provide an opportunity for students to learn, to connect with classroom experiences, but I also think they’re a great opportunity for students to explore new interests, or to develop their current interests and skill levels. It’s a neat way to dabble, experiment, explore, and find your niche.”

Some programs are already sold out, so Kanyo recommends registering sooner rather than later. COVID safety protocols mean smaller class sizes, all capped at 12 students per session. Art From the Heart Scholarships are available, and can provide up to 50% off of the tuition. Applications are available online

The Center is also hosting a STEM Festival on Sat, April 30 featuring exhibits created by students in the community. For more information, and to register for a summer camp, visit Midland Center for the Art website, or by calling the Ticket Office at 989-631-8250. 

The Midland Center for the Arts also hosts a lineup of family-friendly summer events starting in June, including outdoor musical yoga, Disney cover bands, and Disney’s High School Musical. Visit their calendar of events.

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at spohn9@gmail.com.