Over the past summer, Cubs attended some of California’s finest art programs.These students spent weeks at prestigious institutes to expand their artistic horizons.
Junior Nicolas Duran and sophomore Alexander Kang attended the California State Summer School for the Arts, better known as CSSSA, which is located in Valencia, California.
According to the CSSSA website, the camp is a rigorous but exciting month-long art program for budding high school artists. The program strives to provide students with pertinent information to help them acquire new skills in their respective art in a positive learning environment that promotes achievement. CSSSA encompasses a variety of art forms, including performance, animation, and music. The students spent the duration of the camp living in the dorms and attending classes on campus.
Duran was enrolled in the performing arts branch and spent a month learning new techniques for acting as well as performing for his peers on a regular basis. With a tight schedule to adhere to every day, he was active from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Duran believe the program offered unique experiences that he could not find at any other summer program. He said, “I’d never approached acting in such a physical approach before in my life. It really provided an entirely new perspective on the craft of theatre. The way I learned to control my body as an instrument for my acting will certainly be reflected in my future works in Hannon Theater and, hopefully, beyond.”
While Duran was working in the performing arts, Kang attended the music program at CSSSA. Like all courses at the camp, Kang’s entire day was filled with activities. Kang said, “The schedule was pretty tightly packed for me. In a span of three hours, I would have Balinese music, composition class, and African drumming and dance. Additionally, we would practice after lunch, and then go to music theory classes. For the rest of the evening, we would go to music history appreciation class, and finally, watch the guest speakers and practicing ensemble pieces.”
Both Duran and Kang believed that the program was one of a kind. Speaking of his favorite experience, Duran said, “One of the most interesting experiences I had was a performance I acted in for a special interdisciplinary class, where I worked with two creative writers and a musician, namely a percussionist. At CSSSA, students’ classes only include other students in their respective departments, so before the class, I never had the opportunity to work with anyone but an actor. We ended up performing an interpretive dance scored by various cacophonous drumbeats to the anxiety- filled writing of the poets; it was a very unique experience.”
Kang added, “The best experience was the entirety of the camp: meeting lots of different people, making new friends, speaking with cool guest artists, listening to lots of different types of music, and performing ‘Shia Labeouf Live’ by Rob Cantor.”
While Duran and Kang spent their summer learning at CSSSA, junior Hunter Carroll-Crosby attended a UCLA summer art institute to improve his photography. The summer program is led by UCLA alumni, and the curriculum pushes students to explore and expand their creativity in order to enhance their craft.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HUNTER CAROLL-CROSBY
Like those at CSSSA, Carroll-Crosby had a busy schedule brimming with engaging activities and workshops. He said, “We had lectures from different artists and critics, which were very helpful. Most of the day consisted of studio time, editing, and printing. But one day, we went to the Getty, and another day, to the Hammer Museum.
As the UCLA summer program was ending, many students in the institute were asked to display their art. Carroll-Crosby stated, “On the final day of the program, we had a gallery where the three programs all got to hang up their work together in the New Wight Gallery at UCLA. I got to choose my layout for my photos and the size in which they were printed. The gallery was open for two hours, where family and friends were able to walk through and see all of the artwork from all of the students.”
Duran, Kang and Carroll-Crosby all believe that their respective programs helped them develop their talents as well as meet new people of different backgrounds, which greatly influenced their perspectives of art. Duran said, “To say that CSSSA unlocked a new facet of my acting abilities is an understatement.”
Carroll-Crosby added, “The most memorable part of the program would be the friends that I made while I was attending. I made many friends, some from California . . . as well as from Hong Kong and Brazil. It was great to get to know these people and get to see everyone else’s different styles of art.”