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Interlochen Arts Camp: Should You Do It?

Summer is a great time for young artists to immerse themselves in their passions. Time off from school can provide the perfect opportunity to develop new skills and refine old ones. Arts camps, specifically, allow interested students to do so in the community of peers and in the guidance of skilled instructors.

For this reason, we have covered everything you need to know about Interlochen Arts Camp hosted at the renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts.

What is Interlochen Arts Camp?

Founded in 1928 in the lakeside community of Interlochen, Michigan, Interlochen Arts Camp began as the first independent, non-college, co-educational summer camp devoted to music in the country. Interlochen has since expanded to support other fields in the arts during the summer and beyond. For nearly 100 years Interlochen has served as one of the foremost locations to foster young creatives.

Interlochen Arts Camp is a pre-professional Summer arts camp located on the campus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. The pre-professional nature of the camp allows for intensive preparation for a professional career in the arts, including immersive technical training, career guidance, substantive feedback and performance opportunities. Interlochen Arts Camp offers high school students the opportunity to practice, make, and showcase their art in Summer sessions lasting 1-, 3-, or 6- weeks. Each year the campus welcomes more than 3,000 students across the globe to study music, theater, creative writing, dance, film and new media, interdisciplinary arts, and visual arts.

How prestigious is Interlochen Art Camp?

Interlochen boasts a distinguished alumni network of musicians, actresses, dancers, and arts administrators. Notable artists Josh Groban, Norah Jones, Terry Cruz, Jessye Norman, and Lorin Mazel have all attended Interlochen Arts Camp during their childhood. In 2021, the Interlochen Center for the Arts was inducted into the American Classic Music Hall of Fame.

Who is eligible?

All high school students are invited to apply to Interlochen Arts Camp through one of the arts disciplines offered at Interlochen Arts Camp. Some programs require an audition or the submission of a portfolio, in addition to the application form, in order to be considered for admission.


Interlochen Art Camp operates on dates that vary depending on the duration of camp session. Each year the camp begins between mid-June and early-July and completes in early-August

How much does it cost?

Cost of attendance for Interlochen Arts Camp varies based on the duration of each students’ session, with the shortest session (one week intensive) priced at $1,830 dollars and the longest session (6 week session) priced at $10,080. There are additional variable costs associated with participating in Interlochen, particularly the cost of traveling/transportation to/from Interlochen, Michigan.

Interlochen offers need and merit-based financial aid for qualifying applicants (domestic and international).

Who should participate?

High school students who are especially interested in a career in the arts should apply to attend Interlochen Arts Camp.

How do you participate?

Applications for Interlochen Arts Camp open up in September of the preceding year. Applications are brief and consist of student’s contact information in addition to indicating which primary and alternate major the student is seeking to concentrate in. The majority of Interlochen’s high school intensives and summer arts programs require the submission of a portfolio and/or audition in addition to the electronic application. Students wanting to receive financial aid are encouraged by the priority of January 15th of the year they wish to attend Interlochen.


1. It invites a diverse artistic community

Interlochen’s students are not only talented, they also represent a diverse array of backgrounds and cultures. Campers come from 53 states and territories and an additional 42 different countries to be in community with one another. This diversity allows creatives to be in continual contact with fresh ideas, practices, and perspectives.

2. You will learn from accomplished and knowledgeable faculty

Interlochen Art Camp faculty members are artists and arts educators at some of the leading arts conservatories across the world. At Interlochen you will be taught by world-class educators who have fostered the talent of today’s leading artists.

3. You can work on growing your artistic skills in a natural setting

The camp’s name and location — Interlochen — means “between the lakes”. The Summer Arts Camp is situated in a lakeside campus that allows students to immerse themselves in both their art and the environment around them. Camp programming fosters connection with the outdoors; including plenty of time for swimming, canoeing, sailing, hiking, and recreation sports throughout the campgrounds.


1. There is a significant time investment involved

During the duration of the Interlochen students will spend their time immersed in the artistic and co curricular programming that they offer. Students participating in the programming have also had limited access to their cell phones and other personal electronic devices, meaning that pursuing external endeavors outside of the camp will likely not be feasible. This is something to consider if you are looking to complete paid internships/work or take standardized tests during the Summer as well.

2. There is a high cost of attendance

Advanced training in the visual and performing arts is often time and cost intensive, as is the case of Interlochen Arts Camp. Students of all financial backgrounds are encouraged to apply to Interlochen, and each year roughly 85% of students who apply for financial assistance receive it. However, students and their families should factor in associated costs such as the required uniform, travel to and from Interlochen, Michigan, and the additional things you’ll want to make your stay away from home comfortable.

Final Thoughts/Our Review

For many creatives, participating in Interlochen Arts Camp can serve as the first step into a fulfilling and successful career in the visual and performing arts. With its impressive alumni network and highly skilled faculty, Interlochen is a premier program for students of music, theater, visual arts, and more. While attending Interlochen requires a time investment of the course of your Summer, the knowledge and camaraderie offered at Interlochen Arts Camp can be invaluable for most students.

Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you are passionate about research in the arts, performance theory, or arts education, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that was founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Ive Jones is a current senior at Princeton University Studying Health Policy and Dance. She is fiercely passionate about transforming the landscape of what is possible in America's healthcare system. Aside from her intellectual interests, she enjoys eating food from across the world, running, and experiencing performance art.

Image Source: Interlochen Camp logo



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