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, July 25, 2017

Alie's CE Class says hi!

Hey there! Creative Expression teacher Alie here! 

Wow, the last few days have been packed with so much fun, and the kids are feeling very excited to show what they have learned this past week. Our class has been diving their own perspectives and the perspectives of others. Over the last few days, they have written poems, letters, and stories from their own perspectives, and from the perspectives of story characters, made up characters, and even characters in paintings! My hope is that when they come home, they will be more aware of the perspectives of those around them, which always helps to make the world a better place. They will each get to share some of their work tonight at the presentation: poetry, creative writing, and stories. We can't wait to see you then! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hey Everyone! Counselors Amber, Joey, and Atticus here!

Today was yet another fun-filled day! The campers started off the day with breakfast, creative expression, and their arts workshops. After grabbing some lunch, we headed on over to Laguna Beach to check out the Festival of Arts.

The kids were able to observe a variety of different visual artists from all over Orange County. Afterwards they had the opportunity to explore three different activities and create their own visual masterpieces.

Pots were decorated through water marbling, they created their own personal print with a mechanical printing press, and also got to create their own scratch art designs on special scratch paper. Along with creating their own art, everyone was able to learn and discuss with artists as they had time to explore the various visual techniques.

Before the show, we were given a full backstage tour of the Irvine Bowl and shown how the Pageant of the Masters is run. There were wigs, set pieces, costumes, and one huge orchestra pit! It really gave everyone the opportunity to see all of the work that goes into such a huge stage production.

After a long afternoon at the festival, everyone trekked down to Heisler Park and got to have pizza near the beach.

To conclude the night, arts-X-press got to watch the Pageant of the Masters! After a long and busy day, the kids were dazzled by the impressive performance of the cast as they held the positions of famous paintings for minutes at a time.

We look forward to seeing some of you at the parent presentation on Tuesday!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hello from Michal's CE class

Michal's CE class has been hard at work expressing ourselves creatively. We don't want to share too much because that would spoil the fun of our parent presentation but we'll give you a sneak peek of what we have to share with you.

Here is an I AM poem that we wrote about our favorite director, Edward. We each wrote a poem about him, writing from our different perspectives, and then each contributed a line. Here is our final version.

I am a leader and fun (Carlos)
I wonder if the students are having fun (Colt)
I hear the children and counselors talk with each other (Amy)
I see how different kids act to each other (Lukas)
I want campers to take artistic risks (Elaine P)
I pretend to be strict (Kenton)
I cry when people aren't happy (Elaine H)
I love being optimistic (Minh)
I worry some people might not have a positive attitude (Val)
I dream to create a bigger legacy (Emily)
I am cheerful and protective (Serenity)
I am Edward (Nathan)

We'll see you Tuesday to share our Pause Pictures from Pageant, What's Behind the Door poems, Letters from a Theater, and our Goals and Discoveries. Can't wait!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hi all! Counselors Chloe and Helena here!

Today was another action-packed and fun-filled day of camp!

At lunch, kids received their first mail from parents. Those who received mail were elated to hear from parents at home and many talked about how much they loved and missed you guys!

Kids also were also given the opportunity to experience three of our different art forms today during Workshops Spotlights. They were encouraged to take chances and step outside of their comfort zones as they experienced the Dance, Theater, and Vocal workshops. From improvisation with popsicle sticks to singing new songs in rounds, the campers continually surprised us with their willingness to take creative risks and their hidden talents.

Tonight we had the pleasure of attending the Symphony in the Parks and were also able to visit with Pacific Symphony conductor and Arts-X-Press founder Carl St. Clair. The campers were enamored with Carl's story of how he came to be so involved in the arts and how he has continued to share his love for the arts through programs like Arts-X-Press. Additionally, the symphony did not disappoint. Campers were able to hear everything from Bach to E.T. themes performed live by the talented musicians of Pacific Symphony.

As you can tell, we've had tons of fun already and are looking forward to the adventures that await us in the days to come!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

The Arts-X-Press Times

July 23, 2017
by Kelly (CE teacher)

Yesterday, was a full day for campers at arts-X-press. With the excitement and anticipation looming, campers found out which Art Workshops they would be participating in for the following five days. After Arts Workshops, campers transitioned to Creative Expressions (CE) groups, where they expanded upon their writing skills and explored new forms of writing. Poems. Short Stories. Haikus. Doodles. Everyone was expressing a different PERSPECTIVE through written words.
Then the sun began to set and, wait, do you hear that?...

"Baby shark doo doo, doo doo,
Momma shark doo doo, doo doo,
Daddy shark doo doo, doo doo," (is it Shark Week 🌊?) 

...echoed out the bus windows as campers learned new bus songs on their way to Chance Theater, where we attended the historically based musical, Parade. What a creative performance! Using wooden chairs as their main props, the actors/actresses WOWed us with their skills and dedication. Today, campers reflected on the musical through group discussions and by writing their very own newspaper articles from various PERSPECTIVES- We can't wait to share them with you! 


Resident Coordinator Leah here filling you in on yesterday's excursion of "Parade" at the Chance theater. Although "Parade" was presented in a musical format, it dealt with heavier topics involving murder, xenophobia, and the rumors and lies that can spread in a small town. Although the setting takes place in 1913, a lot of these topics are still relevant today.

After the Show, we participated in a talk back where we were able to ask questions to the actors and staff at Chance Theater. One of the actors, Madison Miller, was even an Arts-X-Press alumni! We learned so much about musical theater, and we can't wait to explore even more artistic mediums! 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Excursions and Immersion Week 3!

Hello and happy week 3! Our session 3 arts-X-pressers are on their way to campus and we cannot WAIT to start exploring the arts with them. In addition to all of the awesome workshops and activities we have planned on campus, we will also be heading out to some amazing performances to see some professional artists at work! Here is what the week has in store!

Tonight we will get to see a live production of Parade at Chance Theater. Getting to experience this dark tale of wrongful prosecution and a portrayal of early 20th century social relationships in the South will be such a great time! 

Tomorrow we will get to see Pacific Symphony's concert at Mike Ward community park in Irvine. Their Symphony in the Cities concerts are always so much fun with musical activities going on throughout the evening and a free concert under the stars! There's even a conducting clinic with Carl St.Clair for all the kids! 

Then on Monday afternoon, we will venture down to Laguna Beach to try our hand at some artistic activities at Festival of the Arts and then stay for the Pageant of the Masters in the evening. This performance is so unlike anything else and we can't wait to see that artwork come to life! 

As you can see we have LOTS planned and better get to it! Updates to follow :) 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Hey there, family and friends!

It's been a long, wonderful week and an eventful last day. It was so sad to see all their little faces tonight as they hug each other. The campers have been able to bond with each other very well and are going to miss each other tremendously. If they could, I'm sure they would definitely be okay with staying for another few days with their new family here at Arts-X-Press. They miss each and everyone one of you, no question, but we have also created a very special, shall I say magical, kind of family here at Arts-X-Press.

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 are brilliant, kind, and talented.

Speaking of talent, after family and parents left, the kids presented their talent in either a group or solo act at our own talent show. I honestly should get all of their signatures for when they become famous someday. The word "magical" comes to mind again when describing the talent show. The amount of support and energy in these kids is astounding!

No matter any mistake or mishap, no laughing was to be heard, only unconditional support, love, and warmth as the kids cheered on their friends.

Finally, the 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.


your lovely counselors

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pacific symphony musicians

As we anxiously await your arrival here at Concordia, I thought I'd reflect on some of our activities from today. The students wrapped up their final creative expressions classes and finished rehearsing for the parent presentation, but they were also visited by some very special guests: 4 musicians from the pacific symphony! Caroline Riley (viola), Andy Honea (cello), Elliot Moreau (bassoon), and Kyle Mendiguchia (bass trombone), joined us for lunch today and the students had the chance to talk to them conversationally and to ask them questions. After lunch, the musicians each taught us about their instruments and played some short pieces. 

Then the students had the wonderful opportunity to participate in our "instrument petting zoo," where they had a chance to try a variety of instruments as they rotated between the brass, woodwind, and string families. 

Finally our instrumental activities came to a close with a drum circle activity lead by staff member Alie! 

Hello from Susan's Creative Expression Class!

Happy Tuesday art-X-press families!  This is Creative Expression teacher, Susan, writing to share all about the incredible group of young artists in my class and the creative adventure we have taken together!

Here's a photo of us, taken this morning after our last class together.  (Thank you to Vocal Workshop teacher Leslie for taking the photo for us!)


Over the past four days, we’ve spent about an hour each day together, taking time to reflect on what we’re experiencing and to support each other on our creative journeys.   

We’ve written in our journals.

We've created collages.

We've written poetry and stories.

We created a group story based on a work of art that the students later got to see brought to life at the Pageant of the Masters.

And we listened to some great music while we created. (A special request this morning was a piece that we heard at the Symphony in the Cities, Astor Piazzolla's Libertango).
 We’ve reflected on the experiences from the amazing excursions the students have enjoyed and explored the challenges that each student is facing---and overcoming!

I am so proud of the creative risks my students have taken and of how supportive and kind they have been with each other.  On our first day together, we watched a video of Pacific Symphony’s Music Director Carl St.Clair welcoming the students to arts-X-press and letting them know that this a place where we don’t judge each other, but rather support each other’s growth and personal journey.

My class, and all of the students at arts-X-press, have truly embraced Carl’s message and have created a warm and nurturing creative space where each can thrive.  But of course, I have an especially special place in my heart for my amazing group of thirteen creative and brilliant young people who have taught me so much this week.  

 Many, many thanks to my fabulous class: Sage, Paige, Megan, Cali, Gavan, Kathleen, Sunny, Kenneth, Ryan, Juliana, Natalie, Jayme, and Bella.  I am going to miss them all so much, but I look forward to seeing all of the amazing things that they will do with their lives in the days, weeks, and years to come!

Parents and Family Members: I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with your incredible children and thank you for supporting them in being a part of arts-X-press.  You have so much to be proud of, and I encourage you to ask your student to share their Creative Expression folder with you when they return home so that you can share in some of the magic they created!

We all look forward to seeing you at the Parent Presentation tonight and I look forward to thanking you in person for sharing your students with us this week!

 A final note to the students, at the end of our last class today:
Hey hey there arts-X-press families! Wanted to quickly check in about tonight's PARENT PRESENTATION! We hope you all plan to attend to see how much amazing progress your young artists have made this week.

Quick reminder for time & location:

TODAY at 6:45pm at the CU Center at Concordia University in Irvine! See you all there!

Pageant of the Masters

Last night, our campers got to see Pageant of the Masters! We started our trip with a visit to Heisler park where we had pizza and were visited by our favorite conductor Carl St. Clair! Today he talked about how we should all listen to the inner voice inside of us that tells us to follow our passion. He even said how his plans for his future are to conduct for the rest of his life! When you follow your passion, work is no longer work, but a calling. The most important lessons he shared with us yesterday were to work hard, be honest, be thankful, and to remain humble.

After our inspiring visit from Carl St. Clair, we made our way to the festival of the arts, where we had time to do some activities, look at the artwork, and even had the privilege of getting a backstage tour of the show!

Finally, we got to witness the pageant of the masters, and it was incredible. The theme this year was "The Grand Tour" which perfectly fits this week's arts-x-press theme of "adventure." Our tour started in old England and worked it's way into artwork from America. The show was all inclusive as it featured a live pit orchestra, an Opera singer and a dancer! It was a perfect outing to sum up all of our arts-x-press art forms. It has been a fun-filled week, and we are looking forward to seeing you all at parent presentation tonight!

Hey, AXP Families!
The campers, counselors and staff have all been having so much fun here at Arts-X-Press over these past few days. Last night, we went on an excursion to go see the Pacific Symphony play in the park! Cool, right? That's just the gist of it!

The campers were visited by a very special guest-- Carl St. Clair, the conductor of The Pacific Symphony, as well as the founder of Arts-X-Press. The campers were all given the opportunity to engage in conversations with him about why music and art is so important to artists everywhere. The campers even got to watch as Carl St. Clair conduct the orchestra on stage and do a little hands-on conducting as well! Arts-X-Press got fancy seating, VIP up in front. Listening to live music from well known scores like Superman and E.T., the Pacific Symphony played an amazing concert for the kids and everyone else there to enjoy the Symphony in the City.

After talking to the campers and learning what they thought of the excursion, they all seemed very inspired by the talent portrayed by the professionals on the stage. There were guest performers that night, two of which were female violin players performing a duet, both around the same age as the campers here with us. Experiencing music and various forms of art out in the public and within daily life, it helped the campers realize that art is something that sticks with us and follows us everywhere. Going into an environment where the expectation is to watch a symphony perform, many of the students admitted that they expected the excursion to be boring. However, many found themselves engaged during the concert, singing along to songs they might know, dancing to beats formerly unknown, helping the conductor conduct; all new experiences the majority of the campers had yet to experience and will now be happy to come home to you all and share their stories!

Although we're all so excited to come home, camp is flying by much too fast. There's still so many memories to make and much more stories to take home and share. The campers can't wait to see their families at Parent Presentation!

-- Your favorite AXP Counselors

Becky's CE Class Gets Into Visual Arts

The Laguna Beach Art Walk is kind of supposed to be an appetizer before the Pageant of the Masters main course...but really, it's a main course on its own! Beyond the awesome conversations incited by the art pieces they see as we walk around, our campers get to participate in three very different visual arts workshops (such as Scratch Art - you know, that Crayola paper that you scratch to reveal bright colors?). Campers created items they'll be bringing home using their imaginations and some basic tools, such as little pencils, ink, and even water.

Relief Prints are created by making indents in a piece of foam in their desired design, applying ink, placing a piece of paper atop the foam, and then rolling through a press. Anywhere you made an indent stays white while the rest is the vibrant color our campers chose. This year, there was a large press the campers were able to operate...and laugh a lot while they did it.

Our CE class members really let our personalities shine today - not only through the art that was created, but through the relationships that were built with each other as well! So many smiles were seen, laughter heard, and opinions for their aesthetic set free. Absolutely wonderful.

We got to participate in marbling pots (that they picked out themselves) this afternoon, too, which was a new experience for all of us. One at a time, class members would step up to the counter and give the workshop staff their choice of three ink colors which were dropped into a special solution. They then got to swirl their colors around as they saw fit, some making large designs and others making tight and sharp swirls.

Upon their okay, the workshop staff would dip their pot into the mixture, leaving them with a one-of-a-kind work of art. Every single color combination chosen by our class produced amazing and stunning results.

I'm so proud of their willingness to try these new things today; some of them certainly stepped out of their comfort zones. I didn't hear one negative comment about their own work or not being "good enough;" they simply were true to themselves in the moment and accepted themselves right where they were in ability and talent and it was a beautiful thing to experience. I so hope they will continue to give themselves that kind of grace in other areas of their lives and throughout all their new experiences to come.

Well done, friends!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Symphony in the Cities

Last night, our campers were the guests of honor at the Pacific Symphony in the cities concert. We started our excursion in our own private community room where we ate yummy boxed lunches from the Concordia cafeteria. After, we were joined by a very special guest, Carl St. Clair! The founder of the arts-x-press camp, and the conductor for the pacific symphony. Carl shared with us how he grew up in a small town and dreamed about a place where he could be surrounded by all forms of art and people who he could share this passion with. This was the starting point for the arts-x-press camp. As you know, arts-x-press also includes creative expression classes where the students get to explore the art of writing. Carl explained how this idea was birthed from his teacher and mentor Leonard Bernstein. The one thing Bernstein said everyone should do every day, is write. The arts-x-press program is about more than just expressing. It's about expressing AND sharing with others.

After our memorable meeting with Carl St. Clair, we were shown to our seats which were right in front of the stage! We were even joined by KUSC's very own Rich Capparella, and the mayor of Newport beach.

The concert consisted of a variety of works including classical, film music, and even pieces that included dancers and a children's choir.

The concert was so interactive, that our students even had the chance to go up and conduct Sousa's "hands across the sea". 
Overall the concert was a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to our Pageant of the Masters trip tonight!