“Coming from a rural community, my sense of different cultures was fairly limited. This is my first extended period of time living with so many different backgrounds, and I enjoyed it. Diversity is COOL!”
- Sofia Warren
Areas of Study and Classes
CCY students "major" in one of several offered art forms, which they study each weekday for three hours in the morning. In the afternoons, students take two different elective classes, encouraging them to try something new and learn more deeply about an art form they may have never explored.
Evening activities are scheduled carefully, and at least twice weekly students are exposed to professional, established, working artists across many genres. Open studio time, held twice weekly, gives students the opportunity to work on their artistic projects, research topics in Wesleyan's libraries and get individual guidance from the teaching assistants. Students are also charged with completing an Arts Advocacy project post-program, and will receive training and guidance for this while at CCY.
Field trips, College Day, Open Class/Family Day, and Community Share Day are a few of the additional activities in which students engage.
Be sure to check out our Faculty Page as well!
Students choose only one major when applying to the program. There are a variety of majors to choose from: Creative writing, dance, filmmaking, music, musical theater, photography, theater and visual arts. Monday – Friday from 9:30am – 12:30pm students will have class in these departments. Every department is different and has a specific plan to engage students in hands-on, intense exploration of their art form. Guest artists may be invited in to work with students during these times, or specific field trips will be taken as part of a lesson plan. Students will work both independently and in peer groups on a variety of assignments.Additionally, students choose from a series of elective classes that encourage them to explore art forms outside of their major, or deepen the study of their chosen art form. These are called the Elective Intensives. These classes offer a wonderful opportunity for students to broaden their artistic experience and portfolio. They are specific in nature, with an emphasis on multicultural art forms, or topics within an art form not covered in the morning curricula. The Elective Intensives are attended each weekday from 2:00pm – 4:00pm and run for two weeks, giving each student the opportunity to try two different classes during the four weeks of the program. CCY offers 10-12 different class options each session. (NOTE: Elective Intensive class selections are distributed after acceptance into the program.) As these fill quickly, student requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. In most cases, students receive their first or second choice, but are encouraged to partake in classes outside of their “comfort zone!”
Additionally, students choose from a series of elective classes that encourage them to explore art forms outside of their major, or deepen the study of their chosen art form. These are called the Elective Intensives. These classes offer a wonderful opportunity for students to broaden their artistic experience and portfolio. They are specific in nature, with an emphasis on multicultural art forms, or topics within an art form not covered in the morning curricula. The Elective Intensives are attended each weekday from 2:00pm – 4:00pm and run for two weeks, giving each student the opportunity to try two different classes during the four weeks of the program.
CCY offers 10-12 different class options each session. (NOTE: Elective Intensive class selections are distributed after acceptance into the program.) As these fill quickly, student requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. In most cases, students receive their first or second choice, but are encouraged to partake in classes outside of their “comfort zone!”
Major Art Forms
Major Art Forms (Morning)
Emphasizing fiction and non-fiction prose and poetry, artists-in-residence, visiting poets, playwrights, and novelists work with students to increase writing skills and critical awareness. A juried literary magazine is produced at the end of the program and becomes part of the student portfolio. Personal laptops are not used as students use computer facilities on campus.
Dance study at CCY is carefully structured for development of self-discipline, integrity and aesthetic awareness. Daily classes in ballet or modern techniques are designed to develop versatile dancers. With our strong emphasis on composition, students study the art of choreography and have opportunities for creating original work. Assignments will be given requiring library research, writing, and personal studio hours. Each summer, dancers benefit from working directly with our Summer Artists in Residence - artists from national and internationally known dance companies.
Film students will work with digital video cameras and Final Cut editing software to learn film style production techniques. They will produce several short films, and collaborate and crew for each other in small teams. The group will shoot from "Day 1" of the program and learn by experiencing every aspect of filmmaking. Students study storyboarding, screenwriting, scoring, and producing/editing to create their films using state-of-the-art equipment in Wesleyan's professional labs. Guest artists will also be available to discuss marketing, production, development and documentary styles.
CCY offers four weeks of training that music students are unlikely to find elsewhere. Wesleyan has one of the oldest ethnomusicology departments in the country and is home to a wide range of both world music traditions and compositional practices, which CCY students will have the opportunity to study in depth. Students are encouraged to bring their instruments and apply their existing skills in familiar and unfamiliar ways, participating in ensembles and workshops that will touch on jazz, rock, music from Africa, Asia and Latin America and various experimental approaches. There will also be offerings in music theory, history, and composition. Students will attend master classes with prestigious guest artists and will perform several times throughout the program.
Students majoring in musical theater integrate concentrated actor training with daily voice work and dance classes. Students work on solo and ensemble performance skills using selections from the American Musical Theater Lexicon, which covers a wide range of styles from traditional to contemporary. Audition preparation and Master Classes are also key components of the training, which includes a focus on the History of Musical Theater and multiple performance opportunities.
The focus is on aesthetic, technical, and historical aspects of black and white photography and print developing towards mastery over photographic equipment, materials, and processes. Students use Wesleyan’s studio to work towards mastery over photographic equipment, materials, and processes. They learn qualities of light and shadow, sense of motion, and relationship of subject to frame. Students will also be introduced to digital imaging. Students will shoot film all over the campus, working with other departments and on excursions off-campus. Methods of film development, contact printing and enlarging prepare students for a juried exhibit at Wesleyan's Zilkha Art Gallery.
Theater majors begin with a five-day intensive program in movement for actors, based primarily on the Laban and the Viewpoint techniques. This is designed for the actor and does not require any dance experience. Students start each day with Suzuki method intensive exercises in ensemble building, physical core strength, focus and concentration, voice and diction, and improvisation. Theater students then focus on monologues, scene work and audition preparation. We culminate in a devised-work intensive. Summer Artists-in-Residence or area professionals offer Master Classes. A field trip to a local professional production supports their studies.
Concentrations in the Visual Arts include Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Mixed Media. Classes experiment with a variety of media in each discipline, with emphasis on foundation building, problem solving, and conceptual exploration, and they exhibit twice during the program. Students also learn about historical and contemporary issues in art through research projects, slide presentations, and guest artists or field trips to local galleries. Students document their work, develop portfolios and receive coaching in the college application process.
Elective Intensives (Afternoon)Students have the choice of two different two-week elective intensives. Each student will increase understanding of the relationship of art specialties to other disciplines and the creative process among all the art forms in these classes. These will be shared in performances, exhibits, and social activities. We strongly encourage students to move outside their major art form for the afternoon classes and experiment with something outside of their “comfort zone!” A sample of class choices are:
Social dance crazes are as old as time; it is the most popular dance form in terms of public awareness and direct participation. Social dance promotes couple and group interaction. Students will learn 6 – 8 popular partner dances taught in Ballroom Dance Studios, and they will explore the relationship between social dance and its historical and cultural influences (RoseMarie Libera, Instructor)
Caribbean Steel Pan Orchestra
A Steel Pan Orchestra is a unique opportunity to experience multicultural learning through the arts. Discover a broader world of music through the sounds, rhythms, and songs of other cultures. This ensemble will play traditional calypso and soca from Trinidad, as well as classical, of the steel band; explore improvisation and compositional techniques; and gain an understanding of the vital role of music in Caribbean culture. For Share Day, we will create a musical celebration in the spirit of Carnival. Open to all students.
Various styles of cartooning are welcome in this exciting course. Emphasis will be placed on the development of original characters and the universes they inhabit. The fundamentals of general art techniques, character development, and storytelling with emphasis on narrative art techniques, penciling, inking, lettering, and coloring (both traditionally and digitally), are the foundations of this class.
At Wesleyan, undergraduates and graduate students have the opportunity to learn about other cultures by playing their music. A favorite class is the Javanese Gamelan, an orchestra of gongs and metallophones, a two-stringed bowed lute, a wooden xylophone, a bamboo flute, and two-headed drums. Wesleyan’s beautiful red and gold leaf court-style gamelan was built over 100 years ago in Java, an island in the country of Indonesia. In Java, the gamelan provides the essential musical accompaniment for all-night puppet shows, dances, feasts, and ceremonies. Listeners have compared the sound of the gamelan to angels singing, a river running, and “moonlight poured over the fields.” Since the instruments range in difficulty from fairly easy to challenging, both musicians and non-musicians are invited to broaden their knowledge of world music, melody and rhythm in this class. The course will also introduce students to other aspects of Indonesian culture, such as dance and puppet theater.
Musical Theater For Non-majors
Students will be introduced to basic principles of acting, vocal work, music, movement, and interpretation. We will apply these principles while studying various genres of this most American invention, Musical Theater from the early 1940’s through today. This course is for non-majors.
Photography for Non-majors
This course is an introduction to the art of photography for beginners. Learn to shoot on manual mode from now on to unleash your camera's potential and your artistic control! This action-packed class covers W/B, ISO, Aperture (f-stop), and Shutter Speed, and how they work together under YOUR control to get the artful shots that YOU want. This class is ideal for novice photographers looking to understand how a camera works, what the settings mean, and how to shoot artfully on manual mode.
The playwright is asked to present the private act of writing in its most public forum. This class seeks to capitalize on the dual nature of play writing by including not only a daily writing lab, but also a collaborative approach to developing and presenting student work. We will focus on creating believable dialogue, truthful characters and compelling dramatic action. Play Writing is open to all students in any discipline.
Song Writing is intended for students who write songs or who have musical ideas they would like to turn into completed songs. We will stress creativity over formula, establishing a supportive environment where songwriters can work on their craft, collaborate with peers, and receive constructive feedback. Students will work together on daily assignments given by the teacher and then workshop the results with the whole class. There will also be opportunities for students to receive feedback on individual compositions. Each class session will also feature music analysis and discussion of musical terms. This class is founded on the idea that any creative person can be a songwriter. Basic instrumental or vocal skills are encouraged, but highly motivated non-musicians are also welcome.
Spoken Word Poetry
Instructor Alexa Patrick’s favorite definition of Spoken Word is the one that speaks to, “telling truth loudly.” This demands and validates the expression of every voice. Spoken Word includes the audience as part of the work, building a bridge. This workshop will be designed to maximize exposure to performance and writing styles as well as to maximize artistic growth from each student. Each class will consist of a free write to open the mind, a lesson, an example, a prompt, and sharing/feedback. This format will allow the students to accustom themselves to sharing their truth, understanding their writing style, and manipulating their writing style to make sure that their truth is understood or felt by the audience.
Introduction to Stage Combat (ISC): Stage Combat is the illusion of violence for stage or screen. Understanding the techniques of safe and effective performance combat is the primary goal. The student will build a solid foundation of footwork, attacks, and defenses, and explore movement and partnering techniques for stage combat.
West African Drumming and Dance
This course is a non-stop, energetic exploration of the dynamic music, dance, song, and culture of West Africa. All students experience firsthand a non-Western way of musical expression in preparation for outdoor concerts. Appropriate for serious music, dance, and vocal students, as well as beginners from all arts areas!