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Mermaids, dragons to converge at West Side dance/arts studio

By Clint Thomas, Metro Reporter

Children ages 4 to 9 are invited to exercise their bodies and imaginations next week at the Academy of Arts at January’s on Charleston’s West Side.

The Mermaids and Dragons Children’s Arts Camps will take from 9 a.m. until noon daily Monday, June 26 through Friday, June 30.

Students will rotate among four classes each morning during the camp. They will explore the basics of art, dance, music and theater.

Daily activities will also include storytimes, snack times and finger painting (sometimes to the music of Mozart), concluding each morning with a yoga session before dismissal.

“Our arts camp for kids is a blast,” Academy owner and director January Johnson Wolfe said. “Mermaids and Dragons has been offered at the Academy of Arts at January’s since 2001 It’s so much fun, that when the kids age out of this camp, they want to come back the next year and help out as counselors.

“This year in the art class, taught by local artist Jeff Pierson, the kids are going to make their own Picasso,” said Wolfe. “However, instead of the usual Picasso-style face, it will be a troll. They’re also going to paint the front of the studio on Tennessee Avenue, which is all glass, with their own bright, colored trolls.”

On June 30, campers will present their art creations as well as a stage performance for family and friends, “Trolls Are All Around Us,” which will be followed by a reception with cupcakes and refreshments.

A free camp T-shirt is included with enrollment.

The Academy of Arts at January’s will also begin a five-week summer study program on June 26. Classes, for ages 2 and older, will meet on Mondays and/or Wednesdays each week through July 26 at both the West Side and Hurricane studios. Students will learn new or refine current dance skills under the tutelage of guest instructors such as Jamie Roumayah, Robin Riner, Haven Campbell, Samantha Nunley and Rhiannon Litton.

Later this summer, the academy will offer a princess camp from 9 a.m. to noon July 17 through July 20. Young princesses in attendance will create their own wands and crowns and dance with a different fairy tale princess each day. On July 20, fairy tale characters Cinderella, Elsa from “Frozen” and Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” will serve pink cupcakes and scones to campers. Princess camps are slated for 9 a.m. to noon at the Teays Valley studio and 1 to 4 p.m. at the West Side school.

The academy will also host a Jazz Intensive for ages Aug. 21 through Aug. 24. Guest faculty will include artists from Alvin Ailey, the Beckley Dance Theater and West Virginia, Marshall and James Madison universities.

To register or receive more information about the summer camps and classes, go to or call 304-345-5141.

The Academy of Arts at January’s is located at 615 Tennessee Ave. in Charleston. The Putnam County studio is located at 202 Chase Drive in Hurricane.

The studios will have an open house and fall class registration on Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Charleston location and 2 until 4 p.m. in Hurricane. Classes at each site will begin on Sept. 11.


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