Shenandoah Wabash Arts Camp cancels

Ashley Stodden works on a 3D artwork project during the 2019 Wabash Arts Camp. Camp officials made the decision recently to cancel the 2020 camp because of safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gut-wrenching was the word used to describe the decision made to cancel this summer’s Shenandoah Wabash Arts Camp.

Camp co-director Kelly Carey said they couldn’t ensure the safety of everyone involved because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision was finalized to cancel this year’s camp with an announcement on the camp’s Facebook page, Sunday, May 10.

“We reached out to our board members to get their feelings on it,” said Carey, “and they unanimously agreed it wasn’t worth risking everybody’s safety at this point.”

The decision was made with camp dates still more than two months away, July 27-31, but Carey said if the camp were to happen, the planning process needed to start soon.

“This is the time I need to be hiring instructors,” said Carey, “getting the facilities set up, coordinating with the city, the pool, and the National Guard armory. There are so many entities that help us every year, so it’s not something that can wait until a week or two before.”

The 2020 camp was to be the 30th edition of the camp and Carey said they’ll now plan on celebrating that milestone next year.

There were more than 50 campers who had signed up and paid for this summer. Carey said those that have paid don’t need to be in contact with anyone. They will receive a full refund soon.

Any camper who had attended before and would have graduated from camp this year will be allowed to attend next year.

“It’s possible to come to camp for six years,” said Carey, “so on the last day we have a little graduation ceremony for those kids and give them a diploma. We thought it would be hard for someone who was looking forward to being in that class to lose that experience, so we’ll let those kids come back.”

Carey said Hart plans to post art project ideas to the Wabash Arts Camp Facebook page in the coming weeks.

The plan is for the camp to return in the summer of 2021.

“We hope and plan to be back next year, as usual,” Carey said.

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