Oct 23, 2019

Summer Arts: Curious?

Photos Courtesy of CSU Summer Arts

This summer, artists will meet with like-minded visual, performing and literary artists for the 25th installment of CSU Summer Arts at Fresno State. The program allows participants to apply for scholarships and take part in various workshops.

Summer Arts offers 15 two-week session workshops and scholarships for students and non-students. This year, courses include theatre, music, writing, dance, new media and visual art/design. Summer Arts is noted for local and international guest artists and students. According to Jacqueline Doumanian, CSU Summer Arts Community Relations Specialist over 80 percent of students that apply receive scholarships.

According to Joanne Sharp, assistant director for CSU Summer Arts, the program was created in 1985 by CSU faculty and administrators who were looking for new ways to fulfill the needs of students. The first summer sessions, held at CSU Long Beach, were dance workshops. As the years passed, the demand for more workshops grew and more art workshops were added.

Since 1999, CSU Summer Arts has been held at Fresno State, where it will be held until 2011.

Over the last few years, Sharp and others have seen more than 400 students enroll annually in the program. Sharp said they also invite guest artists to come and work with students.

“Summer Arts offers classes taught by world-class artists,” Sharp said. “Most of the faculty, students, and artists live together on campus, creating a community that works and lives together in the course of making art.”

Thomas Loewenheim, an instructor at Fresno State, sees the program as a way to show Fresno students the talent that is out in the field. Loewenheim is the coordinator for the String and Piano Intensive section of the Summer Arts program. This year, such guest artists include Evan N. Wilson, Principal Violist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Vadim Gluzman, winner of the prestigious Henryk Szeryng Foundation Career Award.

“The kids here deserve the same level like New York,” Loewenheim said. “I’m really happy we can pull such a caliber of people to Fresno.”

Loewenheim explained that Summer Arts allows students to see how professionals work and think. Instructors will work hands on for two weeks with students and give them feedback.

“It’s a bit of a different course from what everyone has designed,” Loewenheim said. “Every day, you are going to
get your session.”

Loewenheim said for this particular section of the program, students will need to submit a resume and a recording of their abilities. He said he knows those students who would like to sign up for his workshop have been practicing in order to get a better recording.

Mark Larson, coordinator of the photo book publishing class, first became involved with Summer Arts in 1998 when the program was hosted by Humboldt State University. Since then, he has helped coordinate photo workshops for the program.

“Students have loved learning more about their cameras and Photoshop and how to apply those tools to travel and landscape photography,” Larson said. “They particularly have appreciated learning how to make money with their art.”

Larson said he appreciates the program because it gives access to resources that the students might not have otherwise.

“The goal of Summer Arts is to offer content and guest artists that aren’t available at students’ home campuses, and that’s what I’ve offered in every workshop in the past,” Larson said. “This year, we’re looking at how to develop multimedia skills, including adding audio to our still photographs with soundslides and how to make photo books.”

For Kimberly Dark, an award-winning solo performer who will teach a workshop on creating a solo show, the workshop not only benefits students, but also instructors.

“This experience is different from every other teaching experience I’ve had at the university level. Summer Arts is a holistic learning experience where a small group of people live and work together in a supportive environment,” Dark said.

Dark also pointed out that while some of the techniques used in workshops might not be new, the way the program is set up allows all participants to step outside of their box.

“As educators and researchers, we know a lot about the importance of caring relationships and a combination of formal and informal interactions as a means of forward learning, and yet, our system rarely supports that,” Dark said.

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