Nearly 600 middle and high school students from around the '' state will spend part of their summer in Toswon exploring art or, as instructor Ray Zeigler puts it, "studying the core of what it is to be human."
"This program will allow students to exercise the highest level of thinking and feeling as observers and supporters of art," said Zeigler, director of the Maryland Summer Center for the Arts.
The center, located at Goucher College, aims at promoting general sensitivity to art among Maryland's youngsters.
For three consecutive two-week sessions, students will receive intensive training in the visual and performing arts. Instructors, mostly will offer courses on dance, theater, music, sculpture, photography, drawing and painting.
Goucher is home to the program for the 24th year, making the Center for the Arts the oldest and the largest program of its kind in the state. To attract students, it sends more than 50,000 brochures to every public and private school in Maryland.
The Center for the Arts is part of the state's Gifted and Talented Education program in Maryland, but participants do not have to be in GATE programs to apply, Zeigler said.
"We are looking for potential that may otherwise be overlooked," he said. "Students must obviously be proficient in their area of interest, and performance experience is required for some courses."
The 600 participants were picked after 1,200 auditions were conducted in February at various college campuses.
The Center for the Arts operates on a $400,000 budget. The $335 tuition fee from each student pays for approximately half of the expenses, while the state funds the rest.
Each two-week session will end with free public performances by the students in Goucher's Kraushaar's Auditorium, on July 6, July 20 and Aug. 3. The performances will feature theater, dance, instrumental and choral music, and a display of the works of visual artists.
The program also will offer supplementary performances by the Navy Band on June 25 at 8 p.m., and the Air Force String Orchestra on July 11 at 8 p.m. Both performances are free and open to the public.