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Sought-after summer-school lessons in art

by Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Hart High School senior Dillon Carson can remember drawing ever since he was a child.

He enjoys it so much that he hopes to make a career out of it one day as a character designer for a video-game company.

And for the last three weeks, the 17-year-old has been able to work toward that goal because he is one of more than 500 students who were accepted to the California State Summer School for the Arts held annually at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

More than 1,600 students apply for a spot at the school each year. At least four in this year’s program are from the Santa Clarita Valley.

“I really like how there’s nothing to do here except art,” Carson said as he tinkered with his website design on a computer. “At home, there would be distractions. Now, I can immerse myself in art projects.”

The state program brings together students from across California and the country for a four-week intense study of the arts. Students who are accepted into the summer school spend their days attending workshops, learning from professionals and creating independent projects.

The program is meant to give promising high school artists a way to practice and improve their skills, whether those skills are in visual arts, dance, theater or music.

Students also live in the dorms at CalArts for the duration of the program, giving them a way to build friendships and bond over their love of the arts.

The California State Summer School for the Arts was created by the state Legislature in 1987, and it’s funded  by public and private foundations and donations. The program brings together professors, instructors and students from all backgrounds who spend part of their summer at CalArts.

A few classrooms down from Carson, Caitlin Klinedinst, of Newhall, was working on a four-panel storyboard as part of her visual arts class.

Klinedinst graduated from Hart High School this year and hopes to one day become an art teacher so she can inspire future generations, as her teachers have, she said.

Being accepted to the California State Summer School for the Arts has given Klinedinst a way to realize her path to the arts, she said.

“This program makes art feel more possible,” she said.

For now, the 18-year-old is focused on building her passion in the visual arts and refining her vision.

“I have this talent, and I have to make it grow,” she said.

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