- Children participating in a PLAY program at Bethel Woods.
From the tunic-toting hippies of the '60s to the smartphone-wielding Gen Z kids of today, young minds need creative stimulation. Every summer, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts offers socially conscious arts-based youth programs to encourage imaginative and critical thinking.
"As stewards of the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, it's our responsibility to insure that all generations understand the history of an important era in American history and culture," says Darlene Fedun, CEO of Bethel Woods. "As a nonprofit cultural center, our mission is to inspire and educate."
In addition to concerts and a multidisciplinary celebration of the original festival's 50th anniversary, Bethel Woods continues their PLAY (Peace. Love. Arts. You.) summer drop-in programs for youth, focused on creative self-expression, social consciousness, cultural engagement, and collaboration.
Young artists engage in a spectrum of music, theater, dance, and fine art activities during PLAY Five-Day, a daily arts-immersion experience for ages 4 to 8. Stimulating games, hands-on projects, and outdoor play are all part of a fun and enriching schedule.
During PLAY Theater, a three-week exploration of musical theater, young people ages 9 to 15 learn acting and production fundamentals, focusing on Woodstock-era music, spoken word, movement, costuming, and stage design. The workshop also includes weekly master classes from industry professionals.
The same age group can collaborate with accomplished musicians during PLAY Music. With lessons anchored in social engagement, students spend three weeks cultivating their skill sets in songwriting, composition, ensemble, and instrument proficiency, before performing their original works before an audience of friends and family.
"The arts has enormous power to transform," Fedun explains. "We present programming and shared experiences to help individuals pursue their passions and gain an expanded appreciation and understanding of their power to do something wonderful."
Registration for PLAY programs is now open. Bethelwoodscenter.org