For decades, parents from Point Loma and beyond have enrolled their children each summer since the Arts Academy was launched in 1980 by a local church.
According to Lanae Wangler, the Arts Academy’s new director, parents appreciate the camp’s emphasis on the process of making art rather than the final product.
Other reasons for the camp’s appeal are the small class size — about 12 children per class — the ratio of one artist and two assistant artists per class and, Wangler said, the idea that the arts “provide a window to the soul.”
Wangler, who is also a public high school teacher, volunteered for the director’s job when the position became empty at the close of the 2013 camp and it appeared the camp might fold.
Wangler said she stepped up because she’d witnessed how the Arts Academy had given her daughter the confidence and skill to speak and sing on stage.
Wangler’s presence marks the first time the Point Loma Arts Academy has not been led by members of All Souls’ Episcopal Church.
The camp’s genesis traces to the late 1970s after state budget tightening from Proposition 13 caused some school arts programs to be cut, and All Souls’ Church started offering after-school arts programs.
It was former All Souls’ rector The Rev. Ralph Carskadden who saw a need for an Arts Academy, which, when formed, grew under the auspices of the church and with the leadership of a number of parishioners until in 1999 the Arts Academy incorporated as a separate California nonprofit organization.
All Souls’ current rector, The Rev. Joseph Dirbas, said he is delighted the All Souls’ church can continue to host “this fantastic program.”
The Point Loma Arts Academy is the second arts-related nonprofit that began at All Souls’ Episcopal Church, the other being the San Diego Gilbert & Sullivan Repertory Theater, created in 1979 after earlier productions of operettas at the church.
The Repertory Theater changed its name to the San Diego Comic Opera, which later became Lyric Opera San Diego.
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