The summer of 2013 marked the 100th anniversary of Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The camp was founded in 1913 by two graduates of Smith College, Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield. Their vision of a rustic camp with the highest standard of arts instruction is thriving today. What they created is a beloved cultural oasis in a rural western town. Students come from all over the USA, and the world, for weeks of intensive study–and everyone also learns to care for and ride horses. When I attended an open house recently, one of the first things I saw was a corral full of beautiful horses.
The second thing I saw was this wall-sized copy of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon–not a photographic reproduction, but a copy lovingly made by art students.
The third thing I saw was a ballerina carefully lacing on her pointe shoes for rehearsal.
Graduates of the summer program include the late Julie Harris–there’s a theater named in her honor, where I saw an opera recital this summer. Mozart, Puccini, Donizetti, and Verdi all thrive in this remote mountain outpost of culture, the vision of two adventurous women a hundred years ago.