From violins to watercolors to make-believe creatures, budding artists need a camp that inspires.

The Arts Camps



Length of Stay: Day
Age Range of Campers: 6-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:7
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $315

YOU WON’T FIND these campers sharing ghost stories around the fire; instead, they’re in the studio spinning story lines into scripts and putting them on the big screen. Held at Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center, it’s “Lights, Camera, Action!” at Young Filmmakers Camp, where your little Quentin Tarantino learns cinematic appreciation and the basics of film production, such as camera angle and lighting, from working artists and professional filmmakers. Campers-turned-directors focus their five days on a specific field such as animation (offered in three age levels), which allows artists to transform their drawings or clay figurines into cartoons, step-by-step and frame-by-frame. Other course options include documentary filmmaking, digital storytelling and video art installation. And rather than macaroni necklaces and Popsicle-stick picture frames, your children bring home DVDs of their final product for special screenings on a television near you.



Length of Stay: Day
Age Range of Campers: 3-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:5-6
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $20-190

WITH NEARLY 2,000 CAMPERS attending each summer and an impressive return rate, Willowbrook, now in its 29th year, boasts that even some of its own teaching specialists (a whopping 175 of them) have been around since they were 3 years old. Camp founder and former director Althea Pratt-Broome taught a children’s summer arts program in California for 16 years before bringing her camp to Brown’s Ferry Park in Tualatin, where toddlers and teens participate in more than 20 programs. Kids love the diversity (tap dance today, guitar tomorrow, puppetry next week), while parents love the flexibility (campers can attend just one half-day or sign up for multiple weeks). Even focused artists attend Willowbrook to join Advanced Artisan groups, learning how to throw pots, perfect their darkroom techniques, design stained glass and dance classical ballet. And for parents left pining for their youth, family nights on Wednesdays include picnics in the park and artistic fun for all generations.



Length of Stay: Day
Age Range of Campers: 3.5-12
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:4
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $75-340

FOR JACKS extra-nimble and Jills especially quick, Do Jump! mixes theater with acrobatics to explore the art of movement. Whether play-acting like a monkey or swinging on a trapeze like the cast of Cirque Du Soleil, campers earn their badge as “actorbats” during their five days at Southeast Portland’s Echo Theater and Sunnyside Church on SE 35th and Yamhill.



Length of Stay: Day
Age Range of Campers: 4.5-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:14
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $135-250

CLASSICAL LITERATURE and fairytales is the focus of the Northwest Children’s Theater and School this summer, where professional theater actors and directors teach your future Tony Award winner the secrets of the stage—like how to channel their inner Beauty or Beast. The five- and ten-day camps end with a performance, in full costume and makeup, in the main auditorium of the Northwest Children’s Theater.



Length of Stay: Extended
Age Range of Campers: 9-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:3
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $1,545

FOR THE MOST dedicated of artists (you won’t find finger paints here), YMA offers campers instruction from talented professionals, such as choir director Quinn Van Paepeghem, who once sang at Carnegie Hall, and Michael Gesme, conductor of the Linfield Chamber Orchestra. Two 13-day sessions are offered: the first covering band, orchestra and choir, and the second focusing on theatre, photography and creative writing.



Length of Stay: Day
Age Range of Campers: 6-18
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:4-6
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $300

MOVE OVER, MOMS: Mother Nature is the reigning queen of your child’s creative inspiration at five-day Art Adventures, hosted by the Oregon College of Art and Craft. At its wooded campus off SW Barnes Rd in the West Hills, trees and snails inspire ceramic masterpieces and photographic works of art.



Length of Stay: Day
Age Range of Campers: 4-8
Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:4
Price (for specific length of stay mentioned): $100-250

IF YOUR CHILD repeatedly rolls his eyes or won’t stop sticking out her tongue, he or she will love Imagining Me, one of six different five-day art camps offered at the Portland Children’s Museum. Kids explore expression and discover their originality through games and crafts, before molding their final master-piece: a clay self-portrait.

*Camps may offer additional programs and price options not mentioned here