Summer at the Center programs
As a nonprofit arts organization, Segerstrom Center for the Arts takes great pride in the work we do for our community. We serve a wide variety of audiences, from offering free dance classes on the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza to helping local elementary schools establish thriving musical theater programs with Disney Musicals in Schools. However, one of the most inspiring programs we offer is Summer at the Center.
Entering its 32nd year, Summer at the Center is a unique, nationally recognized program that empowers high-risk youth through hands-on performing arts training with professional artists. Instructors lead students through a two-week performing arts camp on the Segerstrom Center campus where participants learn about performing while developing critical life skills and forming lasting friendships. Students develop a deeper understanding of how to use the arts as an outlet in their everyday lives, and Summer at the Center focuses on building confidence, promoting healthy choices, and developing self-esteem through active participation in the creative process.
Students who participate in Summer at the Center earn school credits with this five-unit high school fine arts course. The Center received over 80 applications to participate in Summer at the Center in 2023, which is a record high for the past 10 years! This year, students from correctional facilities return to Summer at the Center for the first time since 2019, returning to the traditional structure of Summer at the Center that allows students of varied backgrounds to participate and interact with each other.
During this program, students are surrounded by mentors who believe in them and can see their potential. Shy or intimidated participants flourish and thrive at the end of the two weeks, accomplishing things they never thought possible. They begin to believe in themselves.
As a donor to Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Summer at the Center is one of the many programs your gift can support. Additionally, you have the opportunity to witness the power of the arts for yourself. At the culmination of the two-week program, the student participants put on a performance to show what they have been working on for a crowd of supporters. Seeing students break out of their shells and show what they are capable of brings out the emotions of every single person in the crowd. Rarely is there a dry eye in the room as the students are onstage singing, dancing and showing off the skills they have garnered through this program. They discover their potential and gain confidence that they can draw on beyond their time at Segerstrom Center.
Of course, this program concludes in the best way possible—with a party! A VIP reception is held for the students on August 4th, where they are celebrated by all the people who have supported this amazing program. Select students give speeches about what they have learned and how they have grown during this short time. Representatives from the Orange County Department of Education and the ACCESS division speak about the power of the program and the achievements of past participants. Overall, it's a joyous event you won't want to miss.
If supporting high-risk youth is close to your heart, please consider becoming a donor to Segerstrom Center for the Arts. It is because of the generous contributions from our donors that life-changing programs like Summer at the Center are made possible. This program, established in 1991, has been a staple in the community and serves as another example of Segerstrom Center's belief in the transformative power of the arts.