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  • Much more than a summer camp

    Summer Arts Academy

  • Much more pportunity

    Summer Arts Academy

  • Much more personal

    Summer Arts Academy

MSU Home :: Academics :: Music, Theatre and Dance :: About the Academy


The Morehead State University Summer Arts Academy exists to nurture students' development in the arts in a setting which allows interaction with expert faculty and the opportunity to work with other students who share specific interests in music, theatre, dance, art & design, and creative writing.  All students will select a course of study appropriate to their individual medium , but all will receive the same opportunities. 

The Academy consists of six full days of activities, including individual and group instruction  in your chosen area (music, theatre, dance, art & design and creative writing).  Recreational activities will include an "Art Hop" night, movie night, bowling night and performances /presentations by Morehead State University Summer Art Academy faculty.  


Students will receive intensive individual and group instruction in their medium; private lessons and opportunities for chamber ensemble experience; (clarinet choir, trombone choir, etc. for example).  Students will have the opportunity to listen to faculty perform and will work closely with faculty to learn specific techniques that will assist them in becoming a better musician.   All students will take a music theory class, sign up for 2 electives during registration, *see below, and will have the opportunity to perform in the SAA Final Celebration Festival on Saturday, 1 p.m. 

Taught by Octavia Fleck-Biggs, this program uses a variety of art forms – writing, craft making, photography, movement and dance, and performance and language arts – to help students develop a strong sense of self-awareness and navigate the terrain of their minds, hearts and surroundings. “Ms. Octavia” accepts, encourages and then cultivates multiple forms of perception and expression in young adults. 

Ms. Octavia begins the residency with a writing project that includes: 

  • Voice, body, and imagination warm-ups and exercises
  • A journal-making craft activity
  • Studying, building and writing narratives through an array of activities: an action verb writing exercise; word scrambles; metaphorical expressions; “Question and Answer Finish-the-Thought exercises; journal writing; a “Poetry in a Box” exercise to help the girls develop detailed narratives; photograph analysis; and “Hand Discovery” and performance activities.

The students then study texts from the following four Shakespeare plays – Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest.  They choose a character from one of the plays and merge the language of their chosen character into their narrative, and from there, they migrate their writings into a performance piece. There are a variety of activities that complement this part of the artistic process, including:

  • A paper mache’ mask making craft activity
  • Body movement and dance  
  • Using and learning photography while they document their experiences. 

Using their narratives and photographs, the students design a performance emphasizing both their singularity as young artists with differing experiences and backgrounds, and the power of community, teamwork and collective expression.

Art & Design
Graphic Design -
Eli Hartgrove
Utilizing alternative photographic subjects and methods, students will begin a series of digital works. The course will involve a basic introduction to new media artists, digital creation, and photo-manipulation. Concepts are derived from artists such as Cory Arcangel and Michael Demers.

Ceramics - Adam Yungbluth
In this class, participants will learn how to construct functional pottery using slabs and adding imagery to the surface through image transfer techniques. Pots that are made during the class will be glazed, fired in the kiln, and ready to take home by the end of the week. There will also be time to experience using the potter’s wheel.

Photography - Marina Vitatoe
Students will create cyanotypes using a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. This process was first introduced by Sir John Herschel in 1842 as a way to produce notes and diagrams as in blueprints. The name cyanotype was derived from the Greek name cyan, meaning “dark-blue impression.” A photograph is taken, then turned into a negative that can be used to produce a cyanotype.

Art and Identity:  Artists' Writings, Portraits, and Self-Portraits - Dr. Julia Finch
This course will examine artists and identity. How do artists come to understand their own identities--gender, sexuality, race, nationality, and/or ethnic heritage--through art-making, and how do they communicate that identity to an audience? We will consider Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Glenn Ligon, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others. Students will also create their own artist identity statement.

Creative Writing
Students will receive a broad but intense introduction to the art, craft and business of creative writing.  Academy students will work both individually and as groups with faculty members who are published authors.  Students will emerge from this experience better writers and better readers, prepared to create, revise and refine a wide array of creative work.      


Students signed up for music will have the the opportunity to select 2 electives during registration.
Music Electives include:
Music Technology:  Students will enjoy getting hands on experience with music creation & notation software such as Garage Band, Finale, and Sibelius, and will explore how to use a soundboard to produce live audio.
Class Piano:  Instrumentalists who have no prior experience playing piano will be taught the fundamentals and basics to start playing and making music on the piano in a large-group setting.
Jazz Improvisation:  This elective focuses on the foundations of jazz improvisation, exposing students to the wide world of jazz in a large-group setting. All skill levels and instruments (including voice!) are welcome.
Choir for the instrumentalist:  Students who are usually in instrumental ensembles (band, wind symphony, etc.) have an opportunity to explore their vocal capabilities with others in this vocal ensemble.
Conducting:  This elective will give the student an introduction into basic instrumental conducting.  The student will have the opportunity to conduct in front of the ensemble during the week.
History of Rock 'n' Roll:  Explore the roots of popular music, and see how modern day artists are influenced by the icons of the past, from Ragtime to Motown to today!
Dalcroze Eurhythmics:  This class  is a process for awakening, developing and refining innate musicality through rhythmic movement of the body, ear-training and improvisation. 

Daily Schedule per area

Art and Design
Creative Writing


Check in/registration will take place on Sunday, June 4, 2017, 3 p.m., Baird Music Hall


"I loved the music! I liked all the private instruction time."

"I liked the fact that we had free time filled with electives, especially music technology because I love composing. Furthermore, I loved the music we played in all aspects. The Academy really got me motivated to practice.  I loved it!  I liked the concepts covered in the higher level theory class. I can’t wait until next year…I hope I get to come back."

"I liked everything about the Academy!  The counselors were great, the professors were wonderful. Everyone was nice and friendly. I can’t wait to go to school in the fall."

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