Statement on Hearts to Art 2020

Dear Hearts to Art Community,

We have three rules at Hearts to Art that every camper and staff member has to sign their name to on the first day of camp every year: Be respectful, be safe, participate. This year we are faced with a real challenge – how can we promise safety? With this in mind, we have made the difficult decision that while we are still hosting camp, Hearts to Art will not be an in-person program this summer.

We are still offering two sessions for Hearts to Art this summer: July 6-17 (session one, for campers ages 7-10) and July 20-31 (session two, for campers ages 11-14). Camp will still run daily, with campers coming together online to participate in music, dance, and theatre classes and other activities while also working on projects on their own or with their families. Camp staff will also send out or deliver care packages containing activities such as coloring books or other crafts for campers to do at home. Camp programming will continue to include performance showcases, talent shows, visits from guest artists, mindfulness practice, small group healing sessions, caregiver support, and a memorial celebration to honor those who have died.

It comes down to this: Between now and July, when camp was originally scheduled, we do not see a viable option for hosting camp in person where we will be able to guarantee safety while standing side by side each other in the same room. We mourn the loss of hugs and high-fives and spending each day in the community we so lovingly create every year. These things will not be possible this summer and it would be a lie to say it isn’t a loss. However, we still believe strongly in the mission of this program and are determined to make the necessary adaptations so we can be there for our campers at this time when being part of a community is more important than ever.

One of the reasons we are making this decision now is so that we can work to ensure quality programming for the summer. We want to be thoughtful and purposeful with how we move forward to make Hearts to Art 2020 as impactful as possible. We want to work with the needs of our camp families to create opportunities and customize what we offer and to overcome barriers. We want to use this as an opportunity to grow as a community and support each other as we all navigate this unprecedented situation.

Camp will still be offered at no cost to our campers and their families this summer. Applications for Hearts to Art are still open and available here. If you know a young person who could benefit from a program like Hearts to Art, we encourage you to spread the word.

We are separated, but we are not alone, and we cannot wait to be united with our community in July in a way that is safe for all of us.

With strength and hope,
Sarah Illiatovitch-Goldman
Hearts to Art Camp Director