Public Affairs, The California State University

Experiencing the Culture of Summer Arts

By Stephanie Thara

Experiencing the Culture of Summer Arts

Students from all over California gathered at CSU Monterey Bay this summer to enhance their skills in the arts. Conquering an entire semester’s worth of work in two weeks, art scholars learned how to excel in everything from creating powerful documentaries to impacting audiences through theater.

With over 350 attendees this summer, CSU Summer Arts paired professional artists and CSU professors with students looking to develop new artistic skills or enhance their existing talents.

“I made connections with professionals who helped me build confidence and encouraged me to push through,” said Sony Tran, an animation/illustration major at San José State who attended the CSU Summer Arts fantasy writing course. “Writing fantasy helped me synergize what I learned in animation illustration. The class was about using your imagination and that is what animation and illustration is all about.”

CSU Summer Arts students lived on campus and spent a majority of the day putting into practice the techniques and tools they learned from their instructors about creating masterpieces. Students immersed themselves in projects such as finding the perfect combination of sounds that would help make a movie trailer come to life, mastering body movement and vocal variety so that audiences could relate to characters in a theater production and snapping hundreds of images at Fisherman’s Wharf to capture the perfect moment.

In addition to learning tips about crafting impactful art, students participated in activities that taught them how to succeed in a real-life audition or interview. For example, during the comprehensive seminar for flutists, the course coordinator and guest artist performed a mock orchestra audition. The flutists in the class learned how an audition is conducted, the intensity of the judging process and what aspects judges look for in a winner.

Students looking at photography culmination. “By just being around the photographers, hearing their inspirational stories and seeing how they worked taught me that there is no formula for success,” said Jon McCallum, a master of fine arts student at Chico State who took the CSU Summer Arts digital travel photography class. “You get to see these people in the world doing what you want to do and it gives you the confidence to believe that you can do it, too.”

At the end of the session, students presented to the public everything they learned in one, final culmination piece. Faculty, staff and local community members had the opportunity to experience the culture of CSU Summer Arts through pieces such as an emotional compilation of plays performed by the Steppenwolf class, personal memoirs that depicted life’s struggles and documentaries that revealed the inner workings of society.