Denison is launching an innovative performing arts camp tailored to high school students who want specialized training in their field and exposure to other creative outlets.
The inaugural Summer TUTTI program, which runs from June 24 to July 1, 2023, will offer instruction from professional artists and ensembles in dance, theater, and music — for both instrumentalists and composers. Students will not only improve their skills in their discipline of choice, but also collaborate with other performing artists for a uniquely immersive experience.
Applications are now open for the 2023 session.
“There are many different arts and music camps around the country in the summer,” said Ching-chu Hu, professor of music and director of music theater at Denison. “But at the ones I’ve attended, you mostly stay in your own lane and perform in your own disciplines. We want this to be more collaborative. We want students to lift up their heads a little bit and see what’s going on around them in the other art forms and see how that affects what they want to do.”
The summer high school camp is made possible in part by the Ohio Arts Council’s ArtsNEXT grant for experimental projects. The nearly $13,000 grant will help support outside artistic and educational personnel, and the program will be eligible for a four-year sustainability grant from the Ohio Arts Council as early as 2024.
Summer TUTTI is an extension of Denison’s popular TUTTI Festival, a visiting artists series held every two years on campus.
TUTTI is a musical term taken from the Italian for “all together.” Hu founded the TUTTI Festival as a way to create connections across multiple disciplines, and what began as a two-day music event blossomed into a weeklong performing arts showcase.
Margot Singer, director of the Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts, hopes the high school campers will join in that spirit of discovery and connection.
“The students will focus on their disciplines very intensely in the mornings,” she said. “But in the afternoon, they’ll mix it up, get out of their comfort zones, and try things together.”
Denison prides itself on being a college where students can experience performing arts training on par with top conservatories while also receiving a life-shaping liberal arts education — and this approach was part of the discussion when Singer, Hu and others began to envision Summer TUTTI more than two years ago.
“We wanted to give students a chance to enrich their summer experience and their own talents, but at the same time show them a peek at what college life could be like at Denison,” Hu said.
Summer TUTTI is the latest example of Denison’s deepening commitment to the arts, Singer said, and will serve as a recruiting tool for the university, helping build a diverse pipeline of students to Denison.
“We want kids to go back to their high schools and say, ‘Wow, I really had a fun week at Denison — amazing program, fantastic teachers,’” she said.