About Blue Lake
Founded in 1966, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is a summer school of the arts located on a 1,600 acre campus in Michigan’s Manistee National Forest, offering fine arts education for all ages. Each summer, the principal camp program serves thousands of elementary, junior high, and high school students with diverse programs in music, art, dance, and drama while offering hundreds of performances during its Summer Arts Festival. Blue Lake also operates a widely acclaimed International Exchange Program and Public Radio, providing cultural enrichment to students, listeners, and concert-goers around the world.
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp strives to maintain an atmosphere where students who want to learn may do so in an environment which encourages creativity and recognizes the importance of the individual. Students are accepted at whatever their proficiency level may be and are encouraged to grow. Faculty and staff strive to motivate campers and share with them the joy of achievement in the fine arts. Enthusiasm is contagious at Blue Lake as campers discover, learn, experience, and succeed.
Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp draws its inspiration from the Arens Art Colony that was located in Door County, Wisconsin, and founded in 1922 by Ludolph Arens. Arens, who served as a piano professor at the Lawrence Conservatory and conductor of the Green Bay Symphony, was the grandfather of Blue Lake’s founder and president emeritus, Fritz Stansell. The Arens Art Colony may have been the first summer camp in America dedicated to the idea that an arts school in a secluded, natural setting can shelter gifted young people from the influences of the outside world and allow them to study with concentrated effort.
The spirit of the Arens Art Colony continues to flourish at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. The fundamental mission to motivate students to pursue their art with new enthusiasm continues to drive those who have worked to make Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp what it is today.