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Summer Art Studio

For over 72 years Cranbrook has offered the community the opportunity to share in the Booth family's vision to develop and nurture the creative and performing arts. Founded upon the principle that all young people can benefit and enrich their lives from exposure to art, Summer Art Studio has long been a treasured part of the Schools' programming and community outreach. The unparalleled legacy of exploration of the arts on Cranbrook’s campus is celebrated and expanded in Summer Art Studio.

About the Camp

(coed, entering grades 2-9 in Fall 2021)

COVID-19 Update
At a minimum, Cranbrook’s COVID-related protocols will comply with applicable State of Michigan mandates and align with Oakland Country Health Division and American Camp Association. As we progress through the pandemic and towards the summer season, we may alter, cancel, or replace certain aspects of camp. If we do, this web page will be updated and registrants will be notified by email. Depending on the severity of a change, we may offer registrants a full refund should the adjustment not suit their interest. Otherwise, our regular cancellation policy remains in effect. You may view a summary of the policy in the Tuition & Fees section below or read the full policy in the Enrollment Agreement during the registration process.

General Information

Campers receive instruction in classic art forms such as drawing, composition, painting and sculpture, and expand their horizons into contemporary media such as building, illustration, and photography. Computer-based projects use Adobe® Photoshop® Elements. Explorations that blend unique media combinations are highly encouraged. The beautiful and unique Cranbrook campus provides ample, diverse aesthetic inspiration for prodigious volumes of work.

Subjects that are offered in multiple weeks create different projects, building on the fundamentals of the subject. Prior weeks are not required for subsequent offerings of the same subject.

Fast drying and ever-versatile, acrylic paint is one of the most widely used mediums by artists around the world. By looking through the scope of technicality, we learn varying processes of application and finesse.

Let’s get our hands messy and covered with clay as we learn the different techniques, such as hand building, slabs, and coils, involved in making projects from clay. Using our in-house kiln, the clay projects are fired twice each week—once to bisque and again once glazed.

No matter where you look, design is integral to life. At Summer Art Studio, we’ve explored design through the Cubist eyes of Pablo Picasso and the Pop Art printmaking of Andy Warhol, just to name a few.

At the forefront of the future of art is digital illustration. With the use of the Adobe Creative Suite, we click our way into the 21st century, learning about layering, kerning, vectors, and rendering. Past projects have included vintage travel posters to imaginary lands and designing your own meme.

We’re stepping into the third dimension and making use of our hands to build and create in a tactile way. Moving away from two-dimensional art such as drawing and painting, in dimensional classes, we become builders using supplies such as polymer clay, cardboard, wood, and found objects. Past projects have included everything from marble mazes and fairy gardens to collaborative installations of underwater creatures, dimensional covers it all.

Everybody’s artistic journey begins with a pencil to paper. Here, we cultivate and expand it. Drawing can include a variety of techniques, such as perspective, figure drawing, and portraiture, using multiple mediums, including charcoal, drawing pencils, ink, pastels, and crayons, providing something new and exciting each week.

While focusing on color, texture, and patterns, fabric and fibers provide us a unique medium for creation. From puppets and yarn landscapes to natural dyes and weaving, we explore the many avenues provided by fabric art.

An umbrella term, illustration includes multiple areas of artistic study making use of many different mediums. Illustration differs from the drawing and painting subjects offered because it is not technique-focused and instead use these mediums as a way to explore the creative mind. From character design and cartooning to pop-up books and comic panels, Illustrators have their fingers in all the paint on the palette in the art world.

Derived from the Latin word “jocale,” meaning plaything, jewelry can mean any form of personal adornment. We like to focus on the intention behind each artist’s vision, while creating pendants, rings, necklaces, and more. Previous projects have included millefiori beads, shrinky-dink pendants, and polymer clay pins with the Junior Division and more advanced techniques including resin-pouring, copper smithing and the use of powdered glass with the Senior Division.

Beginning with color theory, our exploration includes different forms of paint, including mediums such as acrylic, watercolor, tempera, and ink. We cover techniques and look to the masters for inspired projects.

Seeing the world through a lens is a way of creative storytelling that transcends time. Through learning about framing, composition, and perspective, we develop the mind’s eye. Previous projects have included capturing your masked animalistic side, found object photography, light photography, sun prints, and stop-motion story telling.

A three-dimensional work of art made from additive or subtractive techniques. Previous projects include an abstract-shaped form, Giacometti-inspired figures, Chihuli-inspired underwater creatures, and dioramas.

Fluid and loose, watercolor painting captures movement and life. Through the process of layering, watercolor has the ability to be both transparent and opaque. We explore technical application through the use of still life and landscape. In the past, we’ve even used mud as nature’s medium.

Wheel Throwing*
Take a hands on approach to learning how to throw pottery on a potter’s wheel and explore the many potential shapes that clay can form. Using our in-house kiln, the clay projects are fired twice each week—once to bisque and again once glazed.

*exclusive to the Senior Division


This exciting hands-on experience allows campers to develop a combination of artistic talents and explore new media. Each day campers attend three different classes. A unique, week-long project is created in each of the three classes, taught by exuberant instructors. The Junior Division provides a fun, diverse, and exciting experience for young artists. We encourage campers to use their imaginations to create fun and interesting projects each week.
  • Week 1: Painting, Ceramics, Fibers
  • Week 2: Drawing, Dimensional, Jewelry
  • Week 3: Painting, Ceramics, Design
  • Week 4: Dimensional, Photo, Illustration
  • Week 5: Painting, Jewelry, Sculpture
  • Week 6: Illustration, Ceramics, Fibers
  • Week 7: Drawing, Dimensional, Photo
  • Week 8: Design, Ceramics, Illustration
As our campers progress from the junior division to the senior division, they learn more advance techniques while using a more elite tier of materials.


The Senior Division is a more focused group, designed for the young artist who is working to cultivate and refine their artistic talents. Classes consist of dedicated weekly projects designed to develop and fine tune specific skills under the supervision of experienced staff in a small, hands-on classroom environment. Smaller class sizes allow each camper to have ample one-on-one instruction and encourage useful critique time with instructors. Each week, campers focus on two separate subjects — one in the morning and another in the afternoon. By exploring various techniques in each of the subject areas presented, campers gain a deeper understanding of the specific media and learn different approaches to using it.
  • Week 1: Dimensional, Illustration
  • Week 2: Wheel Throwing, Digital
  • Week 3: Drawing, Fibers
  • Week 4: Ceramics, Acrylic
  • Week 5: Wheel Throwing, Digital
  • Week 6: Watercolor, Photography
  • Week 7: Ceramics, Jewelry
  • Week 8: Illustration, Sculpture


Not Just Art
While the art is why we are here, there are little variations throughout the camp day that are important to us. We offer multiple opportunities to explore and grow creatively. Every week, we have a theme day where participation is always encouraged. Past theme days have included: Pirates of the Polynesian Islands, Decade Day, and Outer Space! Additionally, we believe in cultivating team-building and friendships by providing games and activities after lunch either outside or in the gymnasium. By having multiple activities happening at once, each day can be a different adventure. We also take advantage of the social aspect at one of our favorite moments: snack. Snack time allows campers to play inclusive table games where socializing is strongly encouraged. Games like these allow the campers to think differently and solve problems creatively which is a skill they’ll take with them long after the summer ends.

Gallery Shows
Gallery Shows held on Friday afternoons in the fourth week and eighth week invite relatives to view campers' creations, allow them to meet instructors, and learn more about the projects. At the end of each week, projects can be taken home or may be held in the office for display at that session’s Gallery Show, to which all are invited.

Open Swim
Campers swim twice a week at Cranbrook's Williams Natatorium. Swim tests are conducted on the first day. Campers who fail or prefer not to take the test are supplied with life jackets and remain in the shallow end of the pool. Campers are allowed to retake the test at any time. The Natatorium staff include a full-time and certified pool manager, certified lifeguards, and our trained camp staff who serve as lookouts.

Lunch, Snacks, and Allergies
Lunches and snacks are included in tuition and are provided by Chartwells Dining Services. They are a nut-free organization who cater Cranbrook Schools’ meals during the academic year. Special arrangements can be made for campers with food allergies. Lunches are served in the Cranbrook Kingswood Middle School for Girls – Kingswood Dining Hall.

Available Options
Extended care, transportation service, and after camp activities are available. These options can be combined to meet your needs. For example, you can choose morning Transportation Service and afternoon Extended Care. Logistical information for these additional options will be provided in the Parent Welcome Packet closer to the start of camp.
Extended Care
Extended Care is available beginning at 7AM and ending at 6PM. Afternoon care includes a snack. Campers enjoy activities, games, and open time outside and in the gym. Extended Care is located at Cranbrook Lower School Brookside. Campers are bused to/from camp each day. Extended Care is also a nice option for families with multiple children attending more than one of our camps to reduce the number of pick up points; parents/guardians simply pick up and drop off all children attending Extended Care at Brookside.

Transportation Service

Transportation Service is available to shuttle campers to and from specific stops in Birmingham (8:10 AM / 3:45 PM), Rochester Hills (7:45 AM / 3:45 PM), Royal Oak (7:50 AM / 4:05 PM), Troy (8:10 AM / 4:10 PM), and West Bloomfield (7:45 AM / 3:45 PM). Campers not picked up in time will be transported to Extended Care.

After Camp Activities
After Camp Activities include group Swim Lessons, Chess, and Coding. Subject to change. Space is limited.

Communication & Photos
Parents/guardians are emailed a newsletter each week that includes a recap from the prior week, highlights for the following week, field trip information, updated group lists, lunch and snack menus, and merchandise available for sale. Daily camp photos are taken and posted in the Photo Gallery to view, post, and purchase.

Why Cranbrook Schools Summer Camps?
Cranbrook Educational Community, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is one of the world’s leading centers of education, science, and art. Comprising a graduate Academy of Art, contemporary Art Museum, House and Gardens, Institute of Science, and Pre-K through 12 independent college preparatory Schools, Cranbrook welcomes thousands of visitors, students, and campers to its campus each year.

Founded by Detroit philanthropists George and Ellen Booth in 1904, Cranbrook’s 319-acre campus features the work of world-renowned architects such as Eliel Saarinen, Albert Kahn, Steven Holl, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Rafael Moneo, Peter Rose and sculptors Carl Milles, Marshall Fredericks and others. Critics have called Cranbrook "the most enchanted and enchanting setting in America" and in 1989, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Cranbrook Schools Summer Camps operate under Cranbrook Schools in a dedicated department named Special and Summer Programs. This year-round department focuses solely on summer camps, after school programs, school rentals, and the school store. The dedicated full-time staff in the department spend the entire year preparing for camp. During the summer, over 1,800 campers from 20 states and nine countries come to Cranbrook for their summer experience. The campus, its facilities, the highly skilled and committed service departments such as Cranbrook's 24/7 security department, and all of Cranbrook's employees, residential faculty, and guests create a wonderful environment for children to learn and have fun. 

Each camp includes a dedicated Director, one or more Assistant Directors, an Office Administrator, Instructors, and Counselors. Each age-aligned group has one or two counselors who remain with their campers throughout the day and take them to each of the instructional areas. The camps are accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
 Tuition and Fees
  • Tuition
    • Full Session (8 weeks): $2,590
    • Half Session (4 weeks): $1,420
    • Partial Session (1 week): $395
  • Fees
    • Materials Fee: $20 per week - Seniors only
    • Cancellation Fee: $50 per week prior to 21 days of session start date. No refund within 21 days.
    • Rush Enrollment Fee: $35 per session within 21 days of session start date
    • Late Payment Fee: 10% of balance 21 days prior to session start date
  • Discounts
    • Early Enrollment Discount: $100/$50 off Full/Half sessions. Use code WEB21 until 4/1/21.
    • Multi-Session Discount: $40 off each additional session. Applied automatically.
  • Financial Aid
    • Aid is available based on calculated need and availability of funds.
    • Awards range 0-50% of tuition and 0-100% of Extended Care; Excludes fees and other options.
    • Awards are funded by Cranbrook and other camp families.
    • To donate, visit our donation page.
    • To apply, complete the Parents' Financial Statement. Use SSS Code 9339.
  • Tuition Includes
    • Lunch
    • Morning and Afternoon Snacks
    • Camp T-shirt
  • Options Available:
    • Morning Extended Care: $75 per week
    • Afternoon Extended Care: $95 per week
    • Transportation Service: $45 per way per week
    • After Camp Activities: $75-$110
    • Camp Merchandise: $5-$15
    • Monthly Payment Plan: $0
Questions? Contact Special and Summer Programs at summer@cranbrook.edu, (248) 645-3674, or use our Contact Us form.

Adobe® and Photoshop® Elements are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

Dates, Times & Locations

Dates, Times & Locations