SUNY Fredonia to host summer programs for high school students

Marketing and Communications staff
logo for New York State Summer School of the Arts programs

Once again, this summer, the State University of New York at Fredonia will host some of the most prolific future artists throughout the state.

SUNY Fredonia has been selected to host three programs in the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA): Theatre, Media Arts, and Visual Arts. All three offer high school students from around the state intensive, pre-professional training with internationally acclaimed artists.

A total of approximately 130 to 150 participating students, who will be selected competitively, will be living on campus during the programs, all slated for July 6 to 27.

Students throughout New York State, in grades 8 to 12, are encouraged to apply on the NYSSSA website where they can also learn more about the application process and the three programs offered this year. Applications along with respective materials are due by Friday, March 8 (theatre) and Friday, March 15 (visual arts and media arts).

As a longtime host for NYSSSA summer programs, SUNY Fredonia last hosted Choral Studies and Visual Arts programs in 2019. The Theatre Arts and Media Arts programs are new this year. Fredonia’s Special Programs Manager Katie Thies, who has worked closely with the NYSSSA executive director, teaching faculty and residence life staff in the past, noted, “I am very excited to have the NYSSSA programs return to campus for the three-week residency.”

NYSSSA School of Theatre

The School of Theatre will provide students with intensive instruction in acting, movement, improvisation, and voice, working side by side with nationally recognized faculty. Under the artistic direction of award-winning director Margaret Denithorne, daily classes include acting, improvisation, scene study, voice, and movement, along with guest artist workshops in stage combat, mask, Shakespeare, playwriting, tango, directing, and acting technique. In addition to the application form, students must submit a recorded audition to be considered. More information can be found on the School of Theatre web page. Approximately 20 students will be accepted to the program.

NYSSSA School of Media Arts

The School of Media Arts will be under the direction of Ghen Zando-Dennis, a nationally known media educator and videographer. The program consists of a review of media fundamentals, instruction in new techniques and processes, instruction in aesthetics, and surveys of contemporary work, trends, and ideas. Students will be immersed in production work in 16 mm film, digital video, photography, and computer animation. In addition to the application form, students must submit an artist statement and portfolio to be considered. More information can be found on the School of Media Arts web page. Approximately 30 students will be accepted to the program.

NYSSSA School of Visual Arts

The School of Visual Arts will be directed by New York-based sculpture artist and educator Greg Lendeck and visual artist and novelist Nicholas Rispoli. Students will work in sculpture studies, mixed media, figure studies, printmaking, drawing and painting, landscape drawing and painting, and figure sculpture under the direction of noted exhibiting artists and educators. The program includes drawing and painting from live models, 3-dimensional installations, modeling life-size objects in clay, practice with printmaking techniques, and field trips. In addition to the application form, students must submit an artist statement and portfolio to be considered. More information can be found on the School of Visual Arts web page. Approximately 80 to 100 students will be accepted for the program.

“This transformative program empowers students and provides them with the opportunity to enhance their artistic talent under the guidance of professional artists,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “We are proud to offer this life-changing experience, which fosters critical thinking, resilience, and a deep appreciation for the arts for young people across this State.”

“The New York State Summer School of the Arts program serves as a catalyst for personal growth and offers students a platform to explore their creativity and self-expression,” State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said. “Students emerge from this exceptional summer experience ready to thrive and contribute to the cultural richness of our society.”

In addition to the in-residency programs for young artists, NYSSSA will once again offer the Empire State Arts Scholarship program, providing students with scholarships to attend summer arts programs in their own communities. Administered by the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Office of Cultural Education, the funding will support the Empire State Summer Arts Scholarship Program’s goal of promoting access and equity to arts education by providing need-based grants to low-income students who want to pursue summer growth opportunities. This year $180,000 is available for students who meet application requirements.

The scholarship application review process will be evaluated based on financial need. 
Scholarship applications are due by Friday, April 19. More information can be found on the Arts Scholarship Program web page.

Since the NYSSSA program was founded in 1970, more than 18,000 students have benefitted from its curriculum and training. Many talented high school students have had and will continue to have the opportunity to study with some of the professional artists in the visual and performing arts, giving students a unique opportunity to experience the rigors of their chosen arts field. Students are accepted into the schools through a competitive audition and portfolio review process conducted by the artistic staff. Tuition rates are maintained at a modest level and tuition assistance is available, giving every student who qualifies the opportunity to participate in the program.

NYSSSA and the Empire State Summer Arts Scholarship Program are part of the Office of Cultural Education within the New York State Education Department. The Empire State Summer Arts Scholarship Program is open to middle and high school level students that apply to independent, community-based art programs and use the awarded scholarship to offset those costs. The Empire State Summer Arts Scholarship Program serves to foster and enhance the artistic abilities of the state’s most gifted young artists regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, or economic status. To learn more about NYSSSA In-Residency Programs and how to apply, visit the NYSSSA website.

Fredonia School of Music programs

In addition to the State Education Department sponsored programs, SUNY Fredonia offers highly regarded intensive summer music programs. A high school and middle school band camp, as well as piano and choral camps, are slated for June 30 through July 6. A new string camp will be held July 14 through 20. The application deadline for the camps is Friday, April 19. More information can be found on the School of Music website

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