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Dutchess County has an artistic side

What kind of world would there be without art?That, thankfully, is a question we don’t have to ponder. All the more so thanks to the efforts of artists and innovators like Carole Wolf, founder and executive director of Mill Street Loft and its Dutchess Arts Camp, which reaches from Millbrook to Poughkeepsie, Beacon to Red Hook.Wolf is among many who have been lucky enough to be involved with the organization celebrating its 30th anniversary this August. The camp offers children throughout the Hudson Valley a chance to explore worlds rich with imagination through visual and performing arts. According to Wolf, the philosophy of Dutchess Arts Camp (DAC) is “building self-esteem while learning through the arts.” What a wonderful message to imprint on young minds. In today’s world, when children seem to be attached to all things electronic — be it the television or computer, an iPad or iPod, a smart phone or ereader, a Wii or an Xbox — there are plenty of distractions that prevent our youth from exploring the deepest and most creative recesses of their minds. How often do we see a child pick up a paint brush versus a GameBoy? Encouraging children to be creative, thoughtful and inventive is so important. DAC, a creative and educational program, does exactly that.Nurturing such attributes leads children to grow into adults possessing skills and gifts and wonderful advantages that will last them a lifetime. It’s a simple equation: Those who are artistic tend to think outside of the box. Those who think outside of the box tend to be more open minded, welcome new ideas and be more inclined to compromise. That’s why creativity and creative thinking should be encouraged, nurtured and promoted from a young age onward.Add into the mix the fun, excitement and pride children gain when participating in all things artsy and it’s no wonder activities like those at Dutchess Arts Camp are so popular. It’s easy to see why that program has been running strong for three decades. Here’s to DAC and the Mill Street Loft — worthwhile ideas that blossomed into some of the region’s best resources. Congratulations to Ms. Wolf and all who help run what have become very successful programs — they paint a very pretty picture of what wonderful ideas creative minds can come up with when so challenged.

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