Visual Art Camps Inspire Creativity


Mason’s School of Art is presenting full-day summer camps for young children ages 6-8 and a portfolio-building program for teens, focusing on mind opening education-based projects and activities.

  • See Where Creativity Takes You! for Ages 6-8,    June 27-July 1
  • Art Around The World for Ages 6-8,    July 18-22
  • See Where Creativity Takes You! for Ages 6-8,    July 25-29
  • JumpstART Art Portfolio Camp for Ages 13-18    July 25-29




“I have put together a new curriculum which includes students learning about famous artists,” explains See Where Creativity Takes You! instructor Lori Eshbaugh, “and making an original piece of art to include both 2D and 3D which relates to the work of each famous artist.”  Ms. Eshbaugh is teaching two different weeks of the Creativity camp, with each week exploring different artists – and projects, which include stain painting sketchbooks, watercolor flowers/nature, printmaking music, gold leaf animal collage, Chinese ink painting, oil pastel portraits and more.




Mason Art Education Graduate candidate Arthur Reinaltt is teaching Art Around The World, where students will learn about diverse cultures and experience multiple art media.  Mr. Reinaltt has taught the Potomac Arts Academy art classes for young children for several years and has earned quite a following of miniature admirers.




The JumpstART Art Portfolio Camp, taught by Bill Farnsworth, will teach students the importance of originality and personal vision. “There will be a focus on collecting and presenting student art as a body of work and not a random collection of objects and images,” says Mr. Farnsworth. “Students will be encouraged to talk about their artwork, explaining personal objectives and approaches to art making.” Young artists who are considering applying to an art school and/or art-related degree program will especially benefit from this camp.


All camps take place at Mason’s School of Art, in the very same classrooms and studios that the Mason students take their visual art courses, adding a special “university experience” to the mix.




Acting Community Outreach Events Music

Live-Streamed Performathon


Potomac Arts LIVE! is back for its second year! This exciting live-streamed performance opportunity for our students is also an important fundraiser for the Academy. Funds that are raised go toward  supporting our many outreach activities, such as our in-school-service programs and Instruments in the Attic, and student scholarships.


Potomac Arts Live! logo

Potomac Arts LIVE! Performathon 2016 will be on Sunday, May 15th.

A selection of the academy’s Music and Acting students are raising sponsorships (usually from family and friends) to be eligible to perform. On the day of the live performance, anyone from around the world can watch via a provided URL link on the internet. This gives relatives who live a long distance away the chance to watch the student perform live – last year we even had viewers from as far away as South America and France! The link will also be posted on our website.

“This event is truly one of a kind! Not only does it seamlessly blend technology and art, but it’s exciting for the students to know that their performance can be viewed live online,” says Potomac Arts Academy staff member Alaina Talley. “We live in a world where social media is so relevant, and I feel this event gives our students the chance to be seen by friends and family around the world in a fun, accessible way.”




What is also amazing about Potomac Arts LIVE! is that it is so focused on giving back. Encouraging students of all ages to raise funds in the community for the community is an important lesson in social action and responsibility. Teaching young performers that they have the ability to make a difference is invaluable. It’s really a celebration of how arts can make a very real positive impact and how the students can be a part of that.

“Last year, parents and students were amazed that simply by performing in front of a camera, their performance could be viewed by hundreds of people– it’s really exciting!” shares Ms. Talley. “The experience of being interviewed by our emcees gives students the chance to feel like celebrities.”




Even if you are not a student “sponsor”, you have the opportunity to contribute to the event via a donation portal that will be advertised during the event and on our website. We hope you will join us from wherever you are – on whatever device you choose (with an internet connection, that is) – to watch this wonderful performance event.





Summer Camp Focuses on Chamber Music


Ovations Summer Strings Academy at Mason provides middle and high school string players a unique opportunity to explore small ensemble chamber music repertoire and skills, while also offering a full string orchestra experience.

“Too often, I hear from students, parents and colleagues, ‘I wish there was a camp that focused on chamber music in this area’,” says Ovations Co-Director Alexandra Morrison. “I tell them it already exists, and it’s FANTASTIC!”



This year’s Ovations Summer Strings Academy takes place on June 26 -July 1, 2016, the week after local school districts usually finish up. Some advantages of this are:

  • It doesn’t take up the whole summer, and students’ families are generally not going on vacation yet.
  • It doesn’t overlap or interrupt most other summer strings camps.
  • It reinforces skills that students need for their school programs and private lessons.

The Chamber Music Experience
All students play in a small ensemble or quartet and participate in a chamber recital on the Thursday evening of that week, performed in a professional university theater. “Students gain confidence in their playing and become independent counters,” explains Ms. Morrison. “They learn how to better read, breathe and communicate in a small group setting.” The ensemble coaches are all well-vetted string educators from the region.




The String Orchestra Experience
All students who register for the program are accepted. An on-site audition process on the first day (Sunday) allows the coaches to place each student into the most appropriate chamber group and orchestra level (there are two levels of orchestra). This year, the orchestra guest conductors are the engaging and talented Scott Wood (Director/ Conductor, Arlington Philharmonic) and former Ovations co-director Erin Eberly (Director of Orchestras, James Madison HS). Students will participate in sectionals on a daily basis, and both orchestras will perform in a final concert on Friday evening at the end of the week.

Other opportunties for students to enjoy include guest performers, performing in a master class with an accompanist, getting a taste of the university experience, social activities and more!




“Get ready for a challenging, intense, fun, and rewarding week of music!” says Potomac Arts Academy Assistant Director Matt Geske, who has observed the Ovations program for the past seven years. “Every year after the final concert performance, parents are thrilled and thoroughly impressed with what their child has been able to accomplish in just one week. I think the students themselves are surprised as well!”




Acting Announcements Art Dance Film & Video Music

Summer Planning Just Got Easier


Managing and coordinating your family’s summer calendar can be nothing short of Olympic! We hope that our helpful new “Summer Arts Calendar 2016” tool will assist you. It breaks down which summer programs are running each week.

Summer Arts Calendar 2016

Most of our programs are one-week camps, but there are exceptions. Please take special note of any two-week (or more) program dates. The majority of our programs are also “full day” camps (meaning 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 / 4:00 p.m.), but again there are exceptions. Please take note of any “half day” (or extended) program times.




As a reminder, we also have a handy “Summer Camps By Age” listing, where you can simply click on the age your child will be when summer arrives to see which specific programs are available to him/her.

See “Summer Camps By Age” Page




If you still have further questions, or just need some advice, don’t hesitate to email or call the Academy staff.
Phone: 703-993-9889

Happy planning!!





Music Teachers Get Inspired at Mason


Teaching music to children in our schools can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Even the most experienced, well-grounded instructor needs a little boost now and then. Whether its finding new inspiration for the classroom, attaining Certification to further a career, gaining Graduate credits towards a degree, earning Recertification points for a school district, or a mix of any of the above – elementary and middle school music teachers can get “transformed” through the Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education experience at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.



What is Orff Schulwerk? According to the Orff methodology, through singing, rhythmic speech, body percussion and movement, children gain experience and develop instincts for making music in a joyful and accessible way. Orff Schulwerk uses songs, rhymes, games and dances to explore traditional and original music in the elemental style, introducing skills and concepts in a logical and integrated way. The Orff program at Mason is approved by the American Orff Schulwerk Association.




“Music teachers – now is the time to start (or continue) your work in Orff Schulwerk!” exclaims Program Director Donna Fleetwood. “Begin your journey with Orff Schulwerk this summer and take creative ideas back to the classroom this fall. Or, continue the good work you have begun by taking the next Level while skills and concepts are fresh. Expand your learning among supportive instructors and peers who will become life-long colleagues.”

Mason offers Levels I, II and III, taught by an outstanding faculty, including:  Joyce Stephansky and Donna Fleetwood (Level I), Matt McCoy and Betsy Kipperman (Level II), Steven Calantropio (Level III),  John Crandall (Recorder), and Victoria Redfearn-Cave (Movement).
See Faculty Bios

Participants spend two action-packed weeks in lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and hands-on applied activities, culminating in a final sharing presentation on the last Friday, involving music, rhythm and movement. Participants who successfully complete Level III are awarded the Certification in Orff Schulwerk as regulated by the American Orff Schulwerk Association.





Exciting one week supplemental courses, which occur the week prior to the Levels courses, are designed to enrich and enhance the Orff experience, as well as introduce emerging techniques. Whether it’s an introduction or a “next step”, these courses give teachers an opportunity to expand their knowledge and invigorate their teaching methods.

“To enhance your work in Orff Schulwerk,” says Donna Fleetwood, “take a course that develops confidence and expertise in the Orff Schulwerk approach.”

  • Master Class in Orff Schulwerk with Steve Calantropio: This highly anticipated class promises to be a capstone experience for those who have completed Level III and wish to extend their studies of elemental music and style with a leading expert in Orff Schulwerk practice. Take away exciting ideas for the classroom and an expanded view of Orff Schulwerk.
    “The course massively stretched my musicianship,” said one past participant.
    “The instructor was extremely well prepared and knowledgeable,” said another.
  • Rhythmic Training for Elementary and Middle School Teachers with Jim Solomon: Always a popular class for those who wish to develop skills in drumming and un-pitched percussion while learning rhythmic techniques for teaching and creating in a highly motivated environment.
    “I came in scared of rhythm and feeling like I wouldn’t do well, but I’m leaving feeling empowered and confident,” said a former student.
    “It has solidified and expanded the teachings of the Orff Levels,” said another.
  • Elemental Drama Collective with Donna Fleetwood and Bonny Tynch: Discover how an Elemental Drama approach can lead to seamless teaching while preparing to showcase student creativity and skill. The focus is on Orff Schulwerk teachers working collaboratively with peers and with children. This year, the time is extended for more strategies, materials and peer interaction.
    “It was very rewarding working with actual students throughout the week,” said one enthusiastic participant, “and being able to see their transformation as they became more and more comfortable sharing their ideas and getting involved in the creative process.”




“Now is the time to challenge yourself with something new!” advises Ms. Fleetwood.

  • Eurhythmics Level I, American Eurhythmics Society Certification: New this year, by popular demand, Mason is offering a class in Eurhythmics. This Dalcroze-inspired class enables participants to develop eurhythmic and improvisational skills. Dr. Todd Anderson takes your music and movement training to a new level with a one-week intensive class, and the option to continue with additional support in an online course in the fall. Students are encouraged to progress at their own pace after the intensive one-week course towards American Society of Eurhythmics Certification. Date exception: July 18-22
    “Experiencing Eurhythmics has opened my mind to an entirely new perspective on music education,” stated Maria Franzini, a MM in Piano Pedagogy/Performance at George Mason. “The approach has taught me to observe students and base lessons on their interests and capabilities. It has freed my own body to be more expressive and my mind to be more creative. All this results in greater involvement in and enjoyment of music from students.”
  • Laban Applications for the Music Teacher, Part II with Dr. Lisa Billingham: Continue the study of the Laban Movement Theory as it applies to the classroom and everyday life. Movement exercises, actively coached conducting gestures, and an option to conduct peers in a recital venue, add to your kinesthetic toolbox and to your life!
    “Having Laban language and full-body movement exercises informs conducting gestures in a way that helps remove superfluous movements from showing the music,” said Michael Wu. “Laban’s choreography helps conductors understand their bodies in the context of a dance.”
    “Because of [Laban Applications Part I], I was able to help transform the sound of my young instrumentalists and help them perform with more musical nuance,” said Nathan Sorensen. “This is a class that I would recommend to any musician, whether they perform in the Band, Orchestra, or Choir.”
  • Conversational Solfege with Rachel Grimsby: Continues the study in the Feireabend approach at Mason with a focus on, strategies, materials and curriculum. Certification in Feierabend Association for Music Education (FAME) can be earned upon completion of the class.
  • Alexander Technique for Music Teachers with Robbin Marcus: Learn new ways to adjust to the physical and mental demands of music teaching. Those who conduct, play an instrument and perform a myriad of classroom activities, gain deep structural support and develop an increased physical awareness.
  • Brush Up Your Kodaly with Robbin Marcus and Ivy Rawlins Ward: Expands skills and repertoire in Kodaly through dulcimer playing and the beloved music and singing games of the Ritchie Family. Ivy Rawlins Ward’s invigorating sessions brush up solfege skills. Take back new materials, a new instrument to play and sharpened skills.
    “Robbin’s vast experience and knowledge of contra dance & play party dances was thrilling,” said one former participant. “She has inspired me to find time to dance more with my students.”
    “Ivy really challenged us to a new level of musicianship for ourselves,“ said another.





“Now is the time to sign up and reserve your spot.” says Donna Fleetwood. “On-campus housing options are also available to reserve up to April 14th. Bring in the 2016-17 school year with a renewed vision and refreshed vigor!”

Donna Fleetwood