Wharton Arts Offers New Camp Mixing Voice & Visual Art

originally published: 03/24/2024

Wharton Arts Offers New Camp Mixing Voice & Visual Art

(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) — The Wharton Performing Arts School will offer a new summer program, Explorations in Voice and Art, on the Wharton Arts campus located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights, July 22-26, 2024.

Said Explorations in Voice and Art Camp Director Tharanga Goonetilleke, “The practice of making art based on music has been around for years but not fully scientifically explained. It is not specific to singing, but my personal experience has been primarily related to painting and vocal music. When nurtured from a young age, certain neurological connections between the parts of the brain that control a particular sense, such as hearing, can form a bridge with another part of the brain, such as sound. These connections are present in newborn babies but slowly disappear when not stimulated by the environment. The practice of painting music can help young artists reach their full potential and bring their individuality, creativity, and unique interpretation to a piece.”

Soprano Goonetilleke, a member of the voice faculty at the Performing Arts School, has been painting and drawing throughout her life, although her formal education and career has primarily been in music. She has painted and designed album covers, such as Home, and illustrated the new Jungle Book for the Glimmerglass Festival. She often has solo exhibitions of her artwork and paints on commission for collectors. She credits her visual art with bringing a more holistic approach to her vocal technique, musical interpretations, and stage performance.

When asked what a typical camp day will look like, Gonnetilleke said, “The day will begin with awakening our senses to listening, hearing, feeling textures, and vocal warmups. Thereafter, campers will explore the daily musical concept, such as major tonality. We will then work on a piece of music as a group, or on some days, campers may also get the opportunity to share a solo song with the class. Based on the materials covered that day, we will use the second half of the camp period to make a piece of art based on music, using different mediums and art techniques.”

All artwork for the summer camp will be composed on paper or canvas board, with the option for campers to explore watercolors, acrylic paint, markers, and color pencils. There is also scope for mixed media depending on the campers’ interests and creative expression.


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Explorations in Voice and Art Camp for ages 11-16 meets daily from 9:30am-1:00pm. Students have the option to add early drop off, lunch bunch, and after care to their camp day. The early registration discount ends April 1, 2024. For more information or registration assistance, call (908) 790-0700 or email info@whartonarts.org.

Wharton Arts’ mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities. Their vision is for a transformative performing arts education in an inclusive community to be accessible for everyone.

Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 2,000 students through a range of classes and ensembles. The 5 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Chorus, an auditioned choral ensemble program for students in grades 3–12, encourage a love and appreciation of choral music while nurturing personal growth and creative development. The 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve nearly 600 students in grades 3–12 by audition, inspire young people to achieve musical excellence through high-level ensemble training and performance opportunities. Based in Paterson, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of Wharton Arts that uses music education as a vehicle for social action by empowering and inspiring young people to achieve their full potential through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. From Pathways classes for young children to Lifelong Learning programs for adults, the Wharton Performing Arts School has a robust musical theater and drama program and offers both private and group classes for instruments and voice for all ages and all abilities. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and that performing arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton Arts offers need-based scholarships.

Wharton Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 12 counties. All of Wharton Arts’ extraordinary teaching artists, faculty members, and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.

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