Arts-X-press is a summer arts immersion program for 7th and 8th grade students created by the Pacific Symphony in celebration of Cole Carsan St.Clair. 150 students are nominated by teachers throughout Orange County to come together for 5 days of creative exploration each summer. The program has two goals: 1) To expose students to all 5 performing and visual arts; and 2) To foster respect for and interest in each student’s individuality, talents, interests, and background.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hello hello, arts-X-press Class of 2017! 

We are so thrilled we are going to get to spend an amazing week of artistic exploration and creative risk taking with you this summer! 

Registration Meetings, where you will learn more about the program and get to ask questions, will be on the following times at the following locations: (NOTE: you need only attend one of these meetings)

Thursday, April 6, 7:00-8:30 pm
PYLUSD Professional Development Academy
Conference Room A
4999 Casa Loma Ave
Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Monday, April 10, 7:00-8:30 pm
Irvine Unified School District Office
Board Room
5050 Barranca
Irvine, CA 92604

Monday, April 17, 7:00-8:30pm
Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, Jacaranda Room B
24932 Veterans Way
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Wednesday, April 19, 7:00-8:30pm
Santa Ana Unified School District Office
1601 E. Chestnut Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Spanish translator available

Thursday, April 20, 7:00-8:30 pm
Garden Grove Unified School District Office
Annex Conference Room
10331 Stanford Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Spanish and Vietnamese translators available

Monday, April 24, 7:00-8:30pm
Newport-Mesa Unified School District
Board Room
2985 A Bear Street

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

IMPORTANT: To pay your tuition online by credit card, please visit

Thanks and of course let us know if you have any questions at all! 
Phone: 714-876-2336

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pageant Day!!!

Hello lovely parents! Counselor Bryan checking in today to let you in on the 411 on the campers! We woke up bright and early, and for the first time ever had the entire dining common to ourselves! WOO HOO! A great start to our day indeed. After breakfast, the campers went to their creative expression class, had our arts workshops, and we re-grouped for lunch. After lunch, the campers were given their excursion prep for our most exciting day ever... THE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS/PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS!!! Of course we made sure our campers were sunscreen-ed and ready, we went on the bus, sang fantastic bus songs and finally arrived in Laguna Beach. When we entered the Festival, the campers were split into two groups, one group to get an awesome backstage tour from our long time pal CW, and the other group that got a tour of the makeup and costume room to see how the show gets put together. After the tour, the campers got to do some hands-on activities with print-making, raku pot painting, and mixed media! Later, we took a nice walk over to Heisler Park where we had a nice Dominos pizza dinner and enjoyed the beautiful view of the beach. After dinner, we went back down to the Festival of the Arts, looked at more exhibits, and got seated for Pageant of the Masters which was incredible (ask your kids about this). Finally, we got back to campus after a long day where we winded down, showered, and went to bed! And that was our beautiful Pageant Day from the Arts-X-Press!!! Hope you enjoyed today's post as much as I enjoyed our day!

Warm Regards,
Counselor Bryan :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Hey familia! Alie here, and what a day we had in our creative expression class!
In my class, we have:

Today, we had the chance to really dive into the idea of our theme for the week: Joy!

First, we started our day off by journaling about what we have been experiencing this week at camp. The students talked about the performances they saw, the activities they participated in, and the food they ate. Then, we got into pairs and wrote stories about photos that we saw at the Pageant tonight! The students were encouraged to think out of the box when creating their stories! The stories they came up with were touching, creative, and hilarious!

After that, we talked through the origin of Arts-X-Press and how a sad tragedy in the life of the St. Clair family was used to bring joy to thousands of lives. What an incredible story. I loved watching the students really internalize the concept of joy and how it is more something to be chosen than just a circumstantial feeling.

We are so excited to share everything we have been learning this week with you- we will see you tomorrow

Week 3: A 5, 6, 7, 8!

Today was quite an exciting day as we started off Day 2 with an early wake up and a nutritious breakfast. The campers spent the morning discussing this week's theme of Joy and exploring new art forms through means of creative expression and their arts workshops. Following the delicious lunch at the university's cafeteria, we boarded our bus and sang our hearts out as we headed to The Chance Theater in Anaheim to watch their production of A Chorus Line. The students sat in awe as they witnessed one of the world's most beloved pieces of theater for the first time. For some, it was their first experience seeing live theater ever! As if the experience couldn't get even more special, the students had the incredible chance of participating in a talk back with the actors of the production! Several students had the opportunity to inquire on the many aspects of being an actor such as training, preparation, and getting into character. With that great of an experience, you would think the day couldn't get any better. However, after a delicious dinner outside on the campus patio, each student had the opportunity to partake in spotlight workshops focusing on voice, theater and dance. One by one, students had the chance to learn proper breathing techniques, how to choreograph dances and how to make a human machine. But, of course, the night did not end there. Before the bed time routines and the three minute showers (which they are getting very good at), every student, staff member, and counselor took the time to sit around together and appreciate the people in our lives. We acknowledged someone from outside of Arts-X-Press as well as one of our new friends within the program and, on that lovely thought, we retired for the evening to get ready for the big day ahead of us tomorrow. The magic is truly in the air here at Arts-X-Press and we are so excited for the remainder of our 100 hours together!

Yours truly,

Rebecca Murillo & the Week 3 Counselors

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Week 3: Mo's CE Class

Hello Loved Ones!

This week is off to a phenomenal start. I have the pleasure of having some incredibly bright and talented artists in my class. The focus for this week is the theme: joy. I wanted them to give them numerous opportunities to look introspectively and have the ability to process all the overwhelming excitement that has consumed them.

We take the first few moments of our class to journal. Yesterday, I had them set goals and expectations. Today, after attending the Pacific Symphony Concert and getting to meet 50 or so new people, I had them express their discoveries. A centerpiece of the concert was "Adagio for Strings." I replayed that today and I had them write a story based on what they visualized happening while listening to that piece. It made for some interesting interpretations of the music!

We then took that theme of joy and tied it into a timeline. I had them define what brought them joy in the past, what brings them joy presently, and what they think will bring them joy in the future.

I recently went to New York City for the first time and saw an incredible Broadway show called, "Waitress" and that inspired me to create an activity to create a recipe. A, "Recipe of Me," which allows them to describe themselves in a fun way!

A great way for us to discover these themes has been through music! We enjoy some diverse (Arts-X-Press appropriate) music that sets the tone for our creativity.

I have the joy of having: Madison, Cael, Kevin, Debbie, Maxwell, Anh, Carter, Makena, Brandon, Perla, Emiko, Kenia, and Vivian in my class!

AXP Week 3: Day 1

Hi there!

I'm Maggie, the coordinator for week 3, and I'm going to be filling you all in on how our VERY FIRST DAY went!

We started off the day with icebreakers led by our fabulous counselors, where the campers got to meet each other and start making new friends!

Games led into lunch time (shout out to Vanguard for the good food), which quickly passed and turned into our arts workshops!

The campers were divided into different arts workshops: vocal, instrumental, dance, theater, and visual arts. There, they spent about two hours learning things about their designated arts.

After arts workshops, they quickly transitioned into their Creative Expression groups, led by three amazing CE teachers. In these groups, the campers explored themselves through various activities (such as writing, introspective reflection, and so much more!) and were almost shocked when the hour was up.

Finally, the most exciting part of the day was here: our very first excursion! We watched the Pacific Symphony perform a variety of pieces at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, and the finale was none other than Beethoven's famous Ninth Symphony. But before we even got to see the concert, the campers were in for more than a few surprises.

The first one? A backstage tour! The campers had the opportunity to learn about how a show works--lighting, setup, and so much more! If that weren't enough, we also had super special visitor: Carl St. Clair himself!

How amazing is that?! Carl gave an incredibly inspiring speech, as well as explaining the history behind some of the pieces that the symphony performed for us today. (As a special treat, he even mentioned his close friendship with famous composer John Williams!) 

After a quick boxed dinner that consisted of sandwiches, fruit, chips, cookie, and LOTS of water, it was finally time for the performance. 

Once we finally got back to the dorms after an incredibly long day, the campers were eager to take their three-minute showers (okay, maybe not that eager) and head to sleep. 

That's all the updates we have for you today, but be sure that tomorrow is going to be another long and exciting day! 

Yours Truly, 
Maggie :) 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Session 3 Excursions and Immersions!

Hello to all from Session 3!

Students have arrived and we have already been through our arts workshops and are currently getting our creative juices flowing in creative expression class! In addition to all of this artistic activity, we will be heading out on some fantastic excursions this week!

TONIGHT we will get to see Pacific Symphony live in concert as they play Beethoven's 9th symphony! We can't wait for this beautiful orchestral experience, it's going to be amazing! This is going to fit perfectly with our theme of JOY for the week, since it includes the famous tune Ode to Joy! It's going to be such a beautiful night under the stars at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. 

Tomorrow we will get to see dance, music, and acting come together in the Chance Theater's production of A Chorus Line. All of the actors and actresses in this show have been hard at work for months putting together all of the pieces of this theatrical production, and it is sure to be an impressive performance!

Finally, on Monday, we will take a trip down to Laguna Beach to enjoy the Festival of the Arts and Pageant of the Masters. Getting to create artwork of our own and then seeing paintings and other artwork come to life onstage will be such a unique experience for our arts-X-pressers, and we know it's going to be such a magical time together! 

As you can see, we have got ALOT of fun to get to this week, so stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Such an amazing group of creative arts for Week 2!! Here is the completed work from Visual Arts! Each student did there own part of the tree, added a quote about individuality and a unique creature/animal/insect that described something about their personality. Then we all came together to see the larger picture!Check out the link below to see the video of the process!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Happy Tuesday from Cat's Kittens CE Group!

Greetings, Parents!

Here we are on our final full day of Arts-x-Press and what a fine time we've been having with your amazing, talented campers.  In CE (aka Creative Expressions), the students are encouraged to express themselves in writing artistically.  It's an opportunity for them to process some of their experiences, be creative in writing and thought, and hopefully find something in themselves they did not see before.  This week, they've written journals, wrote poems using visual and printed prompts, made mandalas about themselves, partnered on poems and madlibs and, of course, made friends.  Below are just a few short samples of some of the amazing work that has resulted from their efforts:

Wendy wrote a lovely and elegant "I Am" poem:

I am magical,
I wonder if I can fly,
I hear the wind in my ears,
I see little villages below me like toys,
I want this to never end
I am magical.

I just love that!  Here's a little excerpt from Mekhi from an "Ancient Doors" photo prompt:

Empty without a meaning
Inside holds something gleaming
Mysterious hidden doors
Hiding valuables that were lost before.

Wow, right?

Lastly, I want to share just a little bit of an absolutely gorgeous narrative written by Emily:

... The Fish Woman learns that every once in awhile you must step away from the world to find peace and harmony.

I would share more, but I do like to save some surprises for home and the Parent Presentation tonight. Hope to see you there!

Cat's Kittens are Allie, Arianna, Danielle, Katie, Mekhi, Bianca, Andy, Alexis, Maddie, Chloe, Wendy, Joseph, Maya, Emily, and Lauren.  Thanks for sharing your kids with me this week!  They are wonderful!

Session 2 Parent Presentation

Good Morning to ALL!

Just a reminder that tonight is our parent presentation, which is your chance to see what all the students have been up to this week! 

Tonight's Parent Presentation is at College Park Elementary, address is:

2380 Notre Dame Rd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Time is 6:45pm

BE there or BE square! 

See you soon :)

Magic Monday!

 Hola arts-X-press parents and friends! It feels like we started just yesterday, but we're already more than halfway through the week. Today started off early with a delicious breakfast of the frenchiest of toasts and scrambled eggs before the kids went to their Creative Expression classes to do some soul-searching and explore their personal abilities. 

Right after we grabbed lunch, we took off for the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. The Festival of the Arts was a paradise for the visual arts, with aisles upon aisles of Southern California's best artists displaying their works. Art pieces ranged from normal oil and watercolor paintings on canvas to glass sculptures to chairs made of recycled plastic bags, and some of the artists were on hand to answer student's questions. After browsing the art at the Festival of the Arts, we explored the backstage of Pageant of the Masters with the Pageant's electrical engineer and costume manager before heading to Heisler Park overlooking the beach for some games and pizza dinner. 

At Pageant of the Masters, we marveled at the actor's abilities to hold their poses and enjoyed the wonderful music from the pit orchestra. Paintings at this year's Pageant of the Masters featured famous partnerships that ranged from Lewis and Clark to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Wilber and Orville Wright.

The students are looking forward to seeing everyone at the parent presentation, and they're definitely ready to show off their artistic abilities! This is counselor Jordan signing off! See you all tomorrow! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Hi Arts-X-press parents, families, and friends,

We've got the beat, the Arts-X-press beat! It is day three and we continue our journey in exploring, celebrating, and expressing our individuality.

Yesterday in CE, we reflected upon our unique characteristics to create a "ME Recipe" as well as a written thumbprint.

After CE, we had the opportunity to experience Spotlight workshops. Through movement, sound, and teamwork we became a united machine (theater), we sang in a two part harmony (vocal), and we showed off our best moves (dance).

"To be, or not to be: that is the question" (Hamlet, William Shakespeare). Last night's excursion was a private performance of "Sonnets, Songs and Sorry Will's Been Dead 400 Years!" at the Strawberry Bowl. We had a blast experiencing Shakespeare in a new light and asking the actors and actresses questions after the performance.

We had an incredible day and look forward to sharing our experiences with you tomorrow night!

-Kelly's CE Class
Erin, Kaitlyn, Fallon, Kayla, Jessica, Corina, Noe, Makenna, Paola, Aaron, Jaime, Jack, Quynh Anh, and Anna

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Day 2!

Today, our wonderful campers experienced our spotlight workshops.  Spotlight workshops give our campers an opportunity to try an art for that they have never tried before.  They all rotate between 30 minutes of vocal music, theater, and dance and are immersed in the different styles of art that could help push them to take creative risks.  The kids also had a chance to reflect on there appreciation to their fellow campers and to those at home who have supported their artistic journeys. Then, the campers had an evening excursion to the Strawberry Bowl to see Shakespeare OC performed. This original piece written by the main actress put a modern twist on Shakespearean sonnets. It was followed by a talk back with the actors and actresses where the campers could have their questions answered. The campers had a great day packed with many fun and enlightening experiences.

Your favorite counsellors of week 2,
Marissa and Daven

Good Morning from CE

Hi parents and friends!

Sending a shout-out from Michal's CE class, made up of Julia W, Julia S, Cece, Megan, Marley, Madison, Ricky, Caden, Kat, Sydney, JP, Jake, Molly, Julieann, Emilia, and Miranda.

We've been talking a lot about individuality and have shared some of our unique traits, whether it's having our appendix out, being able to sail, play seven instruments, or being one of 120 second cousins.

We used those ideas to yesterday write an I AM poem, which allows us to look at ourselves, what we like and dislike, what we hope and dream for, and what we're worried about.

We also talked about how, even with our own individual traits, we can unite these to become even stronger. So today, we combined traits to make Super-Superheroes. One of our superheroes can breathe under water, has super strength, a super brain, and super speed. Another one has extreme flexibility, a huge brain, strong legs, and warp speed.

No spoilers on any finished product yet because we don't want to let out any secrets before the parent presentation! You'll just have to come join us on Tuesday so see for yourself!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day one and done!

Hi Axp friends! We are winding down from a long but exciting first day of Arts-X-Press session 2! The students have already begun to experience the magic of AxP through arts workshops, creative expression classes, and new friends. Tonight, we saw A Chorus Line at the Chance Theater, and it was amazing! Through this exciting production, the students had the chance to dive into what it means to stay true to your individual and unique self! 
Today was packed full of summer fun. And guess what- it's only the beginning of a wonderful few days together! We can't wait to share our next adventures with you all! 

Session 2 Excursions and Immersions!

Good Morning from Session 2! The students have arrived and we are busy getting to know each other and getting excited for what the week has in store! In addition to getting to create art of our own, we will be heading out to a few performances around Orange County to see some arts professionals at work! 

Tonight we will enjoy a production of A Chorus Line at The Chance Theater in Anaheim. We are thrilled to enjoy the amazing music, dancing, and acting that these performers will bring us this evening!

Tomorrow evening, we will head out to the Strawberry Bowl in Garden Grove for a unique new show called Sonnets, Songs and Sorry Will's Been Dead 400 Years! This is a Shakespearean Vaudeville and is sure to be a fantastic opportunity for our students. This will be a private performance for us where we will get to be up close and personal with the cast!

Finally on Monday, we will make our way down to Laguna Beach for Festival of the Arts and Pageant of the Masters. We will get a behind-the-scenes look at how the magic of the pageant happens as well as get to take part in some of the art activities at the festival. Then of course, we will take our seats and take in the beautiful artwork as it comes to life onstage! 

As you can see...MUCH fun is still to be had...but first? LUNCH TIME!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Hello homo-sapien guardians of the fetuses,

We had a wonderful last day together, and there are a lot of sad little faces here tonight going to bed. They miss each and everyone one of you, no question, but we have also created a very special kind of family here at Arts-X-Press. If they could have, I am sure they would have chose to stay up all night having a giant slumber party because the bond between every single camper and counselor is so strong.
Today, before you all arrived, we went through our usual day. Creative Expressions and our Arts Workshops, preparing for this evening's parent presentation. The kids all worked really hard to make their four hours (for CE) and eight and a half hours (for the workshops) count. I was so proud of your kids as I am sure you are too. Each one of these kids is a brilliant, kind, talented soul.
Speaking of talent, after everyone left the kids presented their talent in either a group or solo act. I honestly should get all of their signatures for when they become famous someday.
Finally we counselors surprised the kids with a party, celebrating and commemorating our time at AXP.
I truly thank you for letting us borrow your children for these 100 hours, and you might have to fight us to get them back because we love them so much.

The fabulous, loving, dabbing counselors of AXP

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Just wanting to post a reminder about our Session 1 Parent Presentation tonight!! 

We will be inside Newport Mesa Church, which is on the campus of Vanguard University. Starts at 6:45pm and ALL are welcome. See you soon!!

Molly's CE Class

Haaaappy Tuesday from Molly's CE class!

We started out last Saturday (it seems so long ago) writing acrostic poems on this week's theme, "Courage." We set out to write one poem as a class, but your students are so awesome, they wrote TWO. These young writers are amazing!

Coming out of your comfort zone
One should always be courageous when facing obstacles
Understanding when others are not at their best
Respect others
Accepting people for who they are
Go forward in life
Expanding your horizons

Controlling our fears
Only you can convince yourself to venture further
Uplifting others when they're down
(be a ) Reliable friend
Acting confidently
Great people have great courage
Ending fights and grudges.

Monday Madness

Whew! Another day of arts-X-press flew by, and all the kiddos are fast asleep. The day started off early with a delicious breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs and hash browns before the kids went to their Creative Expression classes to do some soul-searching and explore their personal abilities. After Creative Expression, students began putting the finishing touches on their Arts Workshop presentation. From what I've heard, each arts discipline's presentation is coming together great!

Right after we grabbed lunch, we took off for the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach. The Festival of the Arts was a paradise for the visual arts, with aisles upon aisles of Southern California's best artists displaying their works. Art pieces ranged from normal oil and watercolor paintings on canvas to glass sculptures to chairs made of recycled plastic bags, and some of the artists were on hand to answer student's questions. After browsing the art at the Festival of the Arts, we explored the backstage of Pageant of the Masters with the Pageant's electrical engineer and costume manager before heading to Heisler Park overlooking the beach. A pizza picnic was waiting for us-a welcome site after the long walk from the Pageant.

The sun set, the lights dimmed, and the Pageant of the Masters began. We marveled at the actor's abilities to hold their poses and enjoyed the wonderful music from the pit orchestra. The theme of this years show was "P(art)ners," and each painting featured some sort of famous pairing that ranged from Adam and Eve to Lewis and Clark to Wilber and Orville Wright. Of course, "The Last Supper" finale was the favorite all around.

The students are looking forward to seeing everyone at the parent presentation, and they're definitely ready to show off their artistic abilities! From here at arts-X-press, this is counselor Jordan signing off. Adios!