Young artists converge at CU Denver to explore their dreams

High schoolers from the U.S. and beyond meet up at the LYNX National Arts & Media Camp
Community, Education

CU Denver LYNX Camps

Opening Day of LYNX Camp

Robert King photography

Envision if you can a special kind of camp where imagination, creativity, exploration and education soar to heights undreamed of, and where high-profile guests share their insights on success.

For high schoolers who are lovers of music, movie-making, animation or photography, that vision is realized at the University of Colorado Denver’s two-week summer LYNX National Arts & Media Camp, which is run out of the university’s College of Arts & Media.

In its third year, the camp has expanded to two sessions and is bringing together 65 students for the music industry program (June 5-17) and 80 students for the second session (July 10-22) featuring digital animation and motion graphics, movie production and photography.

Digital animation LYNX Camp

Digital animation is one of several offerings at LYNX Camp

David Walter, assistant director of outreach and admissions and director of the LYNX National Arts & Media Camp, credited the new dean of the college, Laurence Kaptain, with the expansion.

“The first year it was the summer music industry program, but the new dean said, ‘Hey, let’s expand this and offer a few more programs that we have here at the College of Arts & Media.’”

The result has been fast growth in the number of camp participants, Walter said. The LYNX Camp hosted 26 students the first summer, 94 last summer, and will likely host over 140 this summer.

“Students this year are coming from 20 different states, plus two students from Puerto Rico and a student from Mexico,” he said. “We have a good reach.”

The camp gives high schoolers the opportunity to create works of art in their chosen medium. Their projects are then performed or showcased for parents, friends and supporters at the end of the two weeks; they are also archived on the LYNX Camp website.

CU Denver LYNX Camp

LYNX Camp features high school student artists learning from guest artists

Robert King photography

Participants also get to learn from leaders in their respective field, including several CU alumni or former students such as:

  • Ben Wysocki, drummer for The Fray and former College of Arts & Media music student
  • Bridget Law of the band Elephant Revival, which has released four albums and toured around the world. Bridget plays the fiddle, the octave fiddle and helps with the vocals. Bridget graduated with a BS in Music from the College of Arts & Media in 2005.
  • Jeff Gipson, who works at Disney on animated films such Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia. He received a bachelor’s degree at CU Boulder in 2008 and then took coursework at CU Denver's Digital Animation Program in the College of Arts & Media.

CU Denver LYNX Camp

High schoolers create art and music alongside professionals

Robert King photography

Session two participants are in for a treat when CU alumna Amara Hulslander visits, Walter said. Hulslander is an UX and interactive designer, who at Sphero – a robotics and digital technology company – helped create Star Wars: The Force Awakens products, including the BB-8 app-enabled droid.  

“She’s going to bring the droid and let students see it and talk about how they designed it,” Walter said.

Other guest alumni include Timothy Nice (Charter Communications), Richard Marrujo (Pixar), and Mario Rodriguez (DJ Chonz), Walter said.

Students can also look forward to learning from successful artists such as Sue Baker, program director of the Les Paul Foundation​, and  composer Jonathan Wolff , who created the Seinfeld theme song and has composed music for CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, Disney and Showtime. (See the full list of guest artists.)

Top faculty from the College of Arts & Media round out the student experience, Walter said.

The cost to attend the camp for the first session is $1,950 for those staying at Campus Village (including most meals) and $1,100 for commuters. The cost for the second session is $1,850 for residential students and $1,000 for commuters.

CU Denver Javier Colon

Singer and songwriter Javier Colon was a guest artist at the 2015 LYNX Camp.

Robert King Photography

“Those are the sticker prices,” Walter explained. “We do have a lot of scholarships, made possible by generous alumni, community members and local businesses, so students who applied by our priority deadline of March 31 were eligible for scholarships – mostly need-based scholarships based on the family’s income. There are some students who are paying only $200 to attend.”

The 2017 LYNX Camp application will be available on the website starting Nov. 1, Walter said.

“We'll send out a big e-mail to our high school teacher/counselor/parent list announcing that the application is available. We also make some posts about it on our camp social media accounts,” Walter said.

In the meantime, “We’re ramping up, getting excited for the camp this summer,” Walter said.