Children and teens have several options for fun and educational activities this summer at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. ASC is hosting a slate of camps for students ages 6 to 17 in art, engineering and technology, game design and development, theater, filmmaking and even swing dance.


Through the generosity of the June and Edmond Freeman Endowment, Simmons First Foundation, Windgate Foundation, Ben J. Altheimer Foundation and Synergy Forum Inc., ASC can provide full and partial scholarships for students to attend this year’s summer camps, according to a news release.


“We’re very fortunate this summer to have the support of the community and to be able to offer these scholarships,” said ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller.


The camps exemplify ASC’s mission to serve as a cultural crossroad: engaging, educating and entertaining through the arts and sciences. The camps’ curricula incorporates aspects of “STEAM” — science, technology, engineering, ART and math — through student-driven projects. The camps also help students to develop the “soft skills” needed to cultivate leadership and collaboration.


“The arts help to develop 21st-century skills,” ASC Public Programs Coordinator Leonor Colbert explained. “Art helps prepare kids to be future leaders in many areas of their lives because it boosts problem-solving skills, empathy, being able to see problems from other people’s perspectives, and communication and collaboration.”


Colbert is leading the two visual art camps. Art I (ages 6-11) and Art II (ages 12-17) combine lessons in drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture with exploration of current ASC art exhibitions. Students will create 2D and 3D projects, and focus not only on artistic methods and working with different media, but also on the creative process itself.


“With the art camps, it’s more than just doing a bunch of art projects — we will also do activities each day to stretch their creativity muscles,” Colbert said. “The older students will be encouraged to explore the value of art in their own lives and what role art can play in their future success.”


ASC Digital Media Specialist Ashley Smith will lead the two STEAM camps, which are for ages 12-17.


Through hands-on building and experimentation, Engineering & Technology students will be introduced to electric circuits, LEDs and switches, stop-motion animation, beginning computer coding and apps, conductors and semiconductors, programming motors and app development.


Game Design & Development students will use virtual development to learn the fundamentals of creating a game through computer programming and animation, creative problem solving, mathematics, storytelling and teamwork.


Students can enroll in both the half-day technology camps for a full day of STEAM learning and a discounted fee.


Justin Pike, Artistic Director for The Studio Theatre in Little Rock, is leading “The Stage” makerspace theater camp for ages 7-17.


The program takes a holistic approach to theater. Participants will sample all aspects of theater — including script writing, stage management, set design, light and sound design and costume design — as well as acting and directing. Incorporating technology, participating students will learn coding and circuitry for scenery special effects, audio and film for documenting, and basic graphic design to create a program for their production.


Their month of hard work will culminate in the production of a one-act play, Gary Ray Stapp’s “It’s Not Ugly … It’s Art!” with public performances July 13 and July 14.


“The students will have done everything in this play from the ground up,” Colbert said. “Each student will be making substantive creative contributions to the production.” The students will do everything needed to put on a production, including designing and building the sets and other jobs that do not necessarily include acting and directing but are equally important.


“They don’t always see themselves on center stage — but there are so many different ways that they can be a part of it,” Colbert said.


This summer’s film camp will be facilitated by University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Mass Communication faculty. Students ages 7-17 will explore storytelling as an art form, develop a film idea, shoot video, record audio and edit their creation. They will be immersed in both the technology and the creative and artistic aspects of filmmaking.


In the “Swing, Art and All That Jazz” camp, made possible through a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education, students will explore the living traditions of swing dance and music. Students will learn a different style of swing dance each day of camp and produce a short video about the history of swing. Special guest instructor Nick Davis is an ambassador with the Frankie Manning Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and instruction of traditional swing dancing. Davis has traveled nationally and internationally to teach and DJ at swing dance events.


This camp is for students in seventh, eighth and ninth grades during the 2017-18 school year. Participants do not need to be in gifted and talented programs at their school to apply. If selected, this camp is provided at no cost to the student. For more information on this camp and to apply, visit asc701.org/aegis.


For full descriptions and dates of the camps, please visit asc701.org/summer-camps/. Advance registration is required for all camps.


Scholarship eligibility is based on financial need, including household size and household income. The deadline for submitting scholarship applications for June camps is June 1, and July 1 for July camps. Parents are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible.


Any questions about camps or scholarships may be directed to Leonor Colbert, ASC public programs coordinator, at 870-536-3375 or lcolbert@asc701.org.


The Arts & Science Center, located at 701 S. Main St. in Pine Bluff, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday–Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and closed on Sunday and Monday. Gallery admission is free. Support for ASC is provided in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Hands-on science exhibitions are offered through ASC’s partnership with The Discovery Network, a consortium of museums in Arkansas funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. For additional information about ASC and to sign up for upcoming event announcements, visit asc701.org.