An Idyllwild summer is about the arts — every kind of art

Choosing the highlights of the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program is a bit like choosing highlights from the night sky: everywhere you look, something glitters.
From Sunday, June 9 to Sunday, Aug. 4, people of all ages and skill levels will learn about every imaginable art form, educated by teachers who’ve made careers of imagining beautiful art, with much of the learning taking place at events that are free and open to the public. It’s astonishing to realize that the abundance and variety of the Summer Program are so vast that the luminous Native American Arts Festival, lasting from June 23 to June 29, could almost be overlooked, like a star obscured by the Milky Way.
Even though lovers of dance, fashion design, film and digital media and creative writing all can find more than enough to be passionate about in the Summer Program, listing the offerings in these arts disciplines would tell only part of the story.
Consider that music lovers eager to waste no time in enjoying the Summer Program can attend a piano recital as early as the afternoon of June 9, when the Piano Performance Workshop’s three outstanding teachers Doug Ashcraft, Antoinette Perry and William Wellborn perform together in William M. Lowman Concert Hall.
From the instant that one of the three strikes the first key until the culminating Aug. 4 concert by the Festival Choir and the Chamber Festival Orchestra in the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the music — of every popular genre as well as by jazz and classical musicians — will never stop.
For people fascinated by the music of words, the Summer Program’s Writers Week, from July 1 to 5, features a range of voices, from the young Salvadoran poet Javier Zamora to ground-breaking nonfiction writer Wendy C. Ortiz to novelist Vu Tran. Other Writers Week guests include novelist Janet Fitch, of “White Oleander” fame, reprising some of the lessons of her recent Idyllwild Arts Spring Writing Retreat that participants have called “brilliant,” “magical” and “the experience of a lifetime.”
Visual arts offerings hit the ground in a sprint with a June 9 slide show of works by the seven Metals Week instructors and with Hot Clay Lectures the next two evenings. Jewelry-making, painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, glassblowing and weaving will complete the Summer Program’s exhaustive tour of the visual arts.
Even though mastery such as the Summer Program teachers possess can take decades to develop, most artists are first drawn to their crafts as young people. The Idyllwild Arts Summer Program is generous in feeding the appetites of children for the arts, with Theatre among the Summer Program departments that set a full table. The Junior Players Theatre will serve up Friday night feasts from three different young people’s classes on July 5, July 19 and Aug. 2.
Mentioning JPT is a reminder that many Summer Program classes and events are held outdoors, often in the evening. The night sky can be a metaphor for the riches of the Summer Program, but it also has its own dazzling reality as another reason to enjoy summer on the Idyllwild Arts campus.
For more information, visit