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Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) Gears Up for its 26th Summer Arts Program

Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) Gears Up for its 26th Summer Arts Program
Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter

By Trina Mannino/Follow @Trinamannino on Twitter
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Published on May 9, 2017
Photos courtesy of BAX staff

#GetEnthused and Sign Up for BAX Summer Arts.

BAX’s 2017 Summer Arts Program

Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Park Slope, Brooklyn

July 10-August 18

There are three ways to register:

By Phone: 718.832.0018

In Person: at the BAX reception desk

Online: http://youth.bax.org/summer-schedule/

For information on financial assistance, go to the BAX website.


Nestled between a veterinarian clinic and a discount store in Park Slope, you’ll find the unassuming facade of Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX). Inside its sunlit studios, the arts organization bustles with youngsters taking classes, professionals rehearsing, and even families hosting birthday parties. Since 1991, BAX has been committed to providing “a nurturing, year-round, performance, rehearsal and educational venue in Brooklyn that encourages artistic risk-taking and stimulates dialogue among diverse constituencies.”

It directs an annual summer program for students (kindergarten through sixth grade). This year, the camp runs from July 10-August 18; students may select the number of weeks. “It’s a unique opportunity for kids to be exposed to several different forms of the performing arts, which are taught by expert specialists in a low pressure and fun environment,” says education director Lucia Scheckner.

Students are divided into three age groups: Nano (children entering kindergarten to entering 1st grade); Mega (children entering 2nd grade to entering 3rd grade); and Giga (children entering 4th grade to entering 6th grade). Nanos explore a theme each week such as Magical Maps or World Shakers and History Makers while Megas and Gigas’ weeks are designed by discipline (visual art, circus, dance, theater, tumbling, media and music). Each day, performing arts specialists lead lessons tailored to the week’s theme.

A group of kids sit in a circle with arms raised above their heads. Dance artist teacher Donna Costello leads them in the exercise.
Photos courtesy of BAX staff

“The summer program is an intensive in that we are there for one week, every day. So, we can dig deeply (although quickly) into the body, into dance as an art form, and into our theme that is spread across the five days,” says dance teaching artist Donna Costello. “In each session we create a little movement nugget that we then put together on the final day to present in a performance for their families.”

The program’s ethos is nurturing and community-driven. “Here, they can find joy and insight into the creative process,” says Scheckner. “They work collaboratively with peers and take creative risks as opposed to feeling from day one that they’re preparing for a culminating product.”

Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from a unique experience like this. Young people work as counselors and counselors-in-training. These individuals — many of whom were summer program students themselves — learn to effectively communicate with children from varied backgrounds and learning styles; they learn different values of inclusion; and gain leadership skills. “Since there is a Group Leader and teen counselors in the summer arts program, we have the support of many hands in the room to help us guide the activities. I think the campers gain a lot by seeing all of us work together [as] everyone is moving and creating with their body,” says Costello.

A group of kids play. One has his leg in the air. Two children have their palms together with their arms raised above their head. Another stands on one leg.
Photos courtesy of BAX staff

Senior counselor Milo Poniewozik, a young composer, began attending the program when he was five. “I was skeptical that I would have fun at dance or acting week — not being a dancer or actor myself. It took me almost no time to realize that the important thing isn't to already be a pro — though of course, you can be — but to learn and have fun…All you need to do is enjoy yourself, and take pride in what you do.”

For interested families who may not have the funds to send their children to camp, BAX offers scholarships. As the organization celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016, it increased its efforts to offer more aid to individuals in need.

For more information and to register, go to http://youth.bax.org.


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