Days in the Arts (DARTS)
Days in the Arts (DARTS) is a residential summer arts program for rising 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Massachusetts school students. At DARTS, students have the opportunity to spend five days immersed in workshops focused on vocal music, instrumental music, theater/drama, dance, or visual arts. Students explore the arts through excursions to Berkshire cultural institutions such Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Berkshire Theatre Group, MASS MoCA, and Tanglewood.
Students from all walks of life come to DARTS to live and learn together, build confidence, and develop a shared appreciation and respect for individual interests, talents, and differences. By taking creative risks in a safe environment, they take an active role in building a unique, supportive cohort whose spirit travels back with them to their home communities.
Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Theater, Dance, and Visual Arts workshops are taught by experienced educators. All arts workshops work toward a presentation for their peers on the last night of the session. Workshop assignments are based on students’ top three choices and are shared with families 2 weeks before your student is scheduled to come to DARTS.
Students enrolled in the vocal music workshop have the opportunity to sing great music while learning proper vocal technique. Students learn how to use their voice effectively to become strong singers. No previous experience required.
Students join together to play ensemble music in the instrumental music workshop. Students should have a basic understanding of and ability to read printed music. We ask that those interested in this workshop have at least one year of continuous study on their instrument, either through a school program or through private instruction. Students can bring their own instrument but it is not required; standard orchestral instruments are provided. Instruments are stored in a locked classroom during a student’s time at DARTS.
Students enrolled in the theater workshop will learn techniques and skills needed to become a successful stage actor. Theater students will gain insight into both performing and the process of putting on a simple production no matter what their skill level. No previous experience required.
In the dance workshop, students learn proper stretching and warm-up techniques, as well as a short, choreographed work developed by the instructor. This class is high energy with lots of fun mixed in. Dance is for everyone! No previous experience required.
In this workshop, students will explore a number of techniques involved with visual arts. Past visual arts workshops have used sculpture, watercolors, oils, mural painting, charcoals, and canvas painting. No previous experience required.
Creative Expression: In Creative Expression, students prepare for their Cultural Excursions and reflect on the experiences through writing, music, theater, and art activities.
Cultural Excursions: In addition to their Arts Workshop and Creative Expressions experiences on campus, students are immersed in several forms and aspects of the arts during daily Cultural Excursion to local arts institutions in the Berkshires. Cultural Excursions in the past have included: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Chesterwood, Shakespeare and Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Norman Rockwell Museum, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown Theater, and Tanglewood.
Talent Show: Every week the DARTS community comes together to prepare a talent show. All students prepare a talent – drawing, singing, dancing, juggling – to share with their peers and teachers. Students do not have to know their talent before their session. They will have several chances to work with their teachers to identify and practice their act. Often students enter the process feeling a little nervous about performing for their peers. They always end the show feeling supported by their peers and appreciating the many talents of their fellow DARTS students!
Housing: All DARTS students, staff, and faculty are housed in dormitory facilities on the Darrow School campus in New Lebanon, NY, just 20 minutes from Tanglewood. Dorms are monitored by DARTS staff members.
Dining: Meals are served in the dining hall or picnic style, either on the DARTS campus or at one of the excursion sites. Dining Services staff can accommodate special dietary restrictions if notified prior to the start of the program in June. Please be sure to note any food allergies/restrictions on the medical forms.
Staff: Heading the program are Leslie Wu Foley, Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Helaine B. Allen Director of Education and Community Engagement, Jenna Goodearl, Program Director of Youth and Family Initiatives, and Monise Reed, DARTS Program Coordinator. A dynamic faculty leads the daily Arts Workshops. Each week teachers from participating communities teach Creative Expression classes and six high school students, who are DARTS alumni, work as Counselors-in-Training (CIT). There is a certified nurse on campus during the day and on call for questions at night.
Transportation: All students, except for those located in Berkshire County, will be transported to and from DARTS via coach bus. The bus will arrive at a central community location to pick up your child on Monday morning, and will return to the same location on Friday afternoon. Bus schedule information, community bus stop location, and directions to the DARTS campus will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your child’s time at DARTS. If you wish to drive your student to the Darrow campus and/or pick them up, please notify the DARTS office in writing by emailing email@example.com at least one week prior to your child’s attendance.
Medical Needs: There is a nurse on duty from breakfast through the late afternoon every day at DARTS. It is important that all student health registration documents are completed and up to date. Our program nurse will review all student health information and reach out to families with any questions.