Summer Camps

Our summer camps provide middle and high school students with unforgettable experiences in the arts. Campers learn from our talented, experienced staff members and enjoy enriching activities and presentations. They also have the opportunity to meet and work with fellow young artists.

Most of our camps are residential, with campers staying in Gilbert Hall. Some are nonresidential, with campers commuting to camp each day.

Learn more about our camps and sign up today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Summer in the Arts at Northern?

Our residential camps are arts experiences for those who have a special interest in theatre, visual arts, or jazz. You'll find the activities intensive and fun and you'll meet lots of people who enjoy the same things you do.

What's the best thing about the camps?

Our camp staff, no question. The instructors and counselors are NIU faculty, students, guest artists, and alumni, as well as area teachers, and they are the best in their fields. They know a lot and they love to share their knowledge with others. Campers are supervised at all times; the ratio of adults to campers is about 12:1.

How big are the camps?

This varies from year to year and from camp to camp, but our camps generally have between 80-90 campers. The campers get lots of individual attention from the staff and can get to know each other.

Where do campers sleep and eat?

All of our campers stay in Gilbert Hall, a newly renovated residence hall, with spacious, comfortable, and air-conditioned rooms. Gilbert Hall is adjacent to the Art Building (Visual Arts Camp) and Music Building (Jazz Camp) and is a short walk from the Holmes Student Center (Theatre Arts Camps - Junior and Senior). The floors in Gilbert Hall have large lounges and bathroom facilities. Campers sleep two to a room.

Campers eat all three meals in Gilbert Hall in an eat-all-you-care-to-eat dining environment.

Where do the campers come from?

While the majority of our campers are from Illinois and the Midwest, every year we see more campers from other parts of the U.S.

Where is Northern Illinois University?

NIU is in DeKalb, Illinois, 65 miles west of Chicago and 45 miles southeast of Rockford.

Our main office is located in the Music Building, room 132. There are parking meters available on the north end of Gilbert Drive as well as on-street parking near Annie's Woods and on the roads to the east of the building.

Does NIU provide any financial aid for campers?

Yes, each camp offers NIU scholarships (worth $250) to campers who demonstrate financial need. The receipt deadline for NIU's scholarships is May 1. Application forms are available on-line or by calling the office at (815) 753-1450. Many local organizations also offer financial support for campers. We recommend that you check with local service groups, booster clubs, and your school guidance counselor in early spring.

Is there a policy on campers' use of cell phones at camp?

Yes, cell phones are allowed at camp, but we expect campers to be courteous and restrict cell phone use (talking or texting) to times when they are not in a planned camp activity.