Program gives youth artistic outlet

Students and teachers of the Summer at the Youth Arts Program gather on stage after their Saturday performance.

JOHN DAY – The spotlight was focused on 41 youth performers and artists last Friday for the grand finale of Summer at the Youth Arts Program.

Performers, ages 5-18, wowed a crowd of over 110 as they shared talents on stage at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in John Day.

The youth spent the two-week summer camp learning new skills, and/or honing their talents.

The performances included a young choir, children as young as 5 playing – impressively – at the piano, a band concert, soloists, and a play “Mouse, Deer and Tiger” by Aaron Shepard, starring several enthusiastic actors.

One teen songwriter, Grace Carothers, inspired the crowd as she played her guitar and sang.

The cultural center, where the event took place, was decorated wall to wall with paintings in various styles.

Organizer Rebecca Bogardus was pleased with efforts for the youth, and the volunteers.

“This is growing into exactly what we want it to be,” she said. “A quality arts education for everyone in Grant County – no matter where they live.

“We’ve seen students go from zero to amazing in two weeks, and students with advanced skills strengthen them and learn new skills.”

Bogardus had assistance from several teachers, who lent a hand with the various forms of music, art and drama.

Helping with art were Marguerite Driscoll and Savanna Martin. Teachers in the music department included Bogardus and Janine Goodwin and music adjunct Megan Maxwell. Drama teachers included Bogardus and John Fiedor, and Raimy Jisha was a teacher’s aid.

Bogardus already has plans in the works to increase the program. She is starting year-round community choirs for ages 5 through adult. She hopes to add dance classes to the program in the future as well as produce a musical and sponsor year-round instrumental ensembles.

The Youth Arts Program is in its second year and is funded by community donations and a grant from the Oregon Cultural Coalition and is run by the Juniper Arts Council.

“We have partnerships with local studios and schools which keep our costs low,” Bogardus said.

For more information about YAP, visit www.studiobogardus.com/yap.html, or call Bogardus at 541-987-2440.

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