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Bolton’s arts camp inspires youth

Alexandra Bolton and Inspired Arts campers experienced the thrill of live stage performance on their showcase day in Zompa Auditorium. CONTRIBUTED
Alexandra Bolton and Inspired Arts campers experienced the thrill of live stage performance on their showcase day in Zompa Auditorium. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – For the second year, Alexandra Bolton organized an arts camp for teenagers to realize their capacity to excel.

Bolton, a sophomore in the University of Alabama’s Honors College, is pursuing dual degrees in social work and business.

The camp was affiliated with Inspired Arts, a certified 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that Bolton founded to use arts education to promote confidence and encourage teens.

For 2016, 10- to 16-year-olds attended from Girls Inc., Boys and Girls Club, CAJA and community connections through Asbury Community Thrift Store. Campers rehearsed two days at The Dance Company and then presented their showcase day in Zompa Auditorium at Bob Jones High School.

Their “Ambition” theme “revolved around art is all about dreaming big, working hard and taking calculated risks,” Bolton said. “When we apply this concept in every area of our lives, the sky is the ceiling.”

Each student was assigned a “talent agent” who led small groups and became acquainted personally with students. Daily, campers took classes in theatre; singing; hip-hop; and jazz, tap or lyrical. Haylee Blackmon, Brittany Allen, Jessie Potts-Prescott and co-owners Beth Cannon and Julie George volunteered from The Dance Company.

During lunch, campers posed for headshots, wrote an actor’s biography and created costume pieces and props from recycled material.

“Showcase Day was jam-packed with a dress rehearsal, State Rep. Mike Ball and the actual show,” Bolton said.

Ball related “his early struggles and how music changed his life. Students loved his speech and listened so attentively. He’s a great example of how we can do anything we set our minds to and inspired all of us,” Bolton said.

Campers sang “Stay With Me” and “Lean on Me.” “The performance was incredible. I loved watching students try out this new world of the stage. Some just were naturals and got super excited about being in front of an audience,” Bolton said.

For Bolton, the best part was “seeing all our students come out of their shells.” Shyness faded into confidence. Originally saying “the arts aren’t cool,” the boys were ‘pumped’ … even wanting to improv dance before the show.

Youth found “their passion while at camp … the best possible outcome I can think of,” Bolton said.

For more information, visit inspiredartsal.org, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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