Compass Arts Creativity Project

Classes at Compass Arts

The classes we offer at Compass Arts are designed to teach arts and creativity in a broad and developmentally targeted manner. They tend to integrate various art forms in wonderfully untidy ways for the purpose of surprising the student's creativity into wakefulness. They offer children and adults of all ages very cool experiences that incorporate equal measures of structure and self-guidance. The Compass Arts class offerings are certainly not run of the mill, and this is intentional. We are devotees of learning and expansion, creativity, hope and community.

Scroll down to view all Compass Arts classes or:

Please visit our FAQ page for information about our financial accessibility programs including family discounts, pay-over-time plans and sliding scale pricing.

Anyone interested in applying for sliding scale assistance right away can jump to our sliding scale assistance application.

If you would like to support our Sliding Scale Assistance Fund and help make our programs accessible to more of our community, you can make a tax deductible donation here.

You may review our covid-19 policies here.

Music, Theater, Dance, WRITING

Our performing arts classes are rooted in arts educational approaches that follow the natural developmental process of imitation, exploration, improvisation, and creation. Beginning with the very young, we lay foundational concepts through music and movement, focused mostly on imitation and exploration, then build upon those foundations in the preschool and kindergarten years with more exploration, improvisation, and creation opportunities. These classes introduce dance, theater and storytelling into the mix, following the natural physical and creative impulses of the child.

As we move into elementary school, these processes deepen, providing the students with more opportunities to create from their own imaginations through inquiry based frameworks that ground the students in fundamental music, theater, and dance skills while making space for them to discover their own unique voice. Connections with their peers are fostered through the collaborative process of creating pieces to share with an audience, strengthening their relationships in a supportive environment and furthering their capacity to share their authentic selves.


Compass Arts Musical StewMusical Stew
For little ones 6 months-4 years and a caregiver
Taught by Jessie Shaffer (Wednesdays) and Gina Samardge (Thursdays)

Rooted in music education approaches such as Orff-Schulwerk, Kodaly and Dalcroze, Musical Stew provides adults with songs, rhymes and activities to help nurture their child's musical development and allow the little ones to begin an integrative musical journey that lets music work its magic. Each class explores a variety of musical concepts through playful songs, rhymes, fingerplays, props, and small percussion instruments while providing a space for young ones to grow cognitively, physically and emotionally.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Wednesdays, 9:30-10:15am, January 12 to March 16 2022, $200 (sibling discounts available)
  • Thursdays, 9:30-10:15am, January 13 to March 17 2022, $200 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Romp and PlayRomp and Play: Storytelling through Music, Dance and Theater
For children in K-2nd grade
Taught by a rotating cast of characters, including Jessie Shaffer, Chelsea Acree, Gina Samardge, and Romina Robinson

Using dance, music, and theater games, students will begin to build the language of storytelling through the body and voice. Throughout the course, students will explore stories while laying a foundation of skills in acting, dance, and singing, sprinkled with some instrumental exploration and a whole lot of fun. There will even be an opportunity to create costume and prop components for a retelling of one of the stories, perhaps with a twist? Or a fractured tale? Or maybe even an original work? Students will work together with the teachers to decide!

  • CURRENTLY RUNNING:
  • Wednesdays, 4-5pm, September 22 to December 15 2021, $240 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts RompatomRompatom Elementary Music Ensemble and Youth Choir
For students in 1st through 4th grade
Directed by Gina Samardge and Jessie Shaffer

Students will be immersed in a choral singing environment while building foundational skills on xylophones, hand percussion, and ukulele. Technique, ear training, reading, improvisation, and rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic work will all be explored in this collaborative and playful environment while students are exposed to a variety of musical genres and styles. This winter and spring we will be running a 14 week class with performances as part of our end of year showcase the weekend of April 30 and May 1, 2022. No experience necessary.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Mondays, 4-5pm, January 24 to May 2 2022, $280 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Theater GamesImprov and Theater Games
For students in 3rd through 5th grade
Taught by Eric Saiet and assisted by Gwynne Watkins

Performers of all experience levels (including no experience!) are welcome in this improv class for students in grades 3 through 5, informed by the work of Viola Spolin and Piven Theater Workshop. We’ll learn a variety of improvisation and theater games that encourage creativity, team building, quick thinking and communication skills, as well as being ridiculously fun. This winter and spring we will be running a 16 week class with performances as part of our end of year showcase the weekend of April 30 and May 1, 2022. No experience necessary.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Wednesdays, 4-5pm, January 12 to May 4 2022, $320 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Modern DanceIntro to Modern Dance
For students in K through 4th grade
Taught by Chelsea Acree

Modern Dance began as a rebellion of ballet in the early 20th century from an urge to dance without traditional limitations. In this class we will practice technical skills, improvisation and composition beginning with a warm-up that includes strength, flexibility, floor work and standing exercises. We will create by combining dance steps, improvisation and musicality, while relating to the environment, each other and finding inspiration all around us.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Thursdays, 4-5pm, January 13 to March 17 2022, $200 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Toddler DanceToddler and Preschool Creative Dance
For little ones 18 months-4 years and a caregiver
Taught by Chelsea Acree

In this class young dancers and their caregivers will move in different directions, levels and shapes making creative choices while learning about their bodies and improving motor skills. We will run like a cheetah, jump like popcorn, and wiggle like spaghetti, growing our creative and motor skills. Class will consist of a warm up, a story inspired movement adventure, and an obstacle course. We will conclude every class with the all time favorite freeze dance! Music, songs, and props will be used weekly. Full participation of the adult with the child supports family bonding, group social/communicative dynamics, and self-confidence. So come ready to have fun and dance!

  • UPCOMING:
  • Mondays, 9:30am-10:15am, January 24 to March 14 2022, $160 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Music and MindfulnessMusic and Mindfulness
For little ones 2 to 7 years old and a caregiver
Taught by Jessie Shaffer and Heather Davies

Join in on the play with your child as we blend yoga asana, breathing practices, age appropriate meditation and lots of awesome music to create a fun and engaging program. Mindfulness is a great way to practice being aware of our bodies and what we are experiencing in them. Teaching and modeling mindfulness tools can help children regulate emotions and avoid feeling overwhelmed in this fast moving world. We add music and movement to help children access these tools easily and have fun!

  • UPCOMING:
  • Fridays, 9:30-10:15am, January 28th to February 18th 2022, $80 (sibling discounts available)


Visual Arts

Our visual arts classes all share a commitment to inquiry & process based learning. The studio environment at Compass Arts is designed to trigger curiosity; empowering students to explore ideas, experiment, ask questions, and find or create solutions. In all of our visual arts classes, it is the creative process that we focus on the most, rather than the final products or outcomes. Collaboration and play are key ingredients in the studio recipe: we learn as we play with materials, concepts, and ideas, and we learn more when we are all in the process together.

In toddler-preschool classes, we aim to create a physically safe environment where children have the freedom to explore and experiment with materials using all their senses. In our elementary age classes, we focus on creating a supportive environment for a range of abilities. Through reflection and discussion, students build a vocabulary of self expression, as well as practicing interpersonal skills.

At the upper elementary level and above, students work on honing skills and developing technique. The earlier established principles of exploration, experimentation, and self expression in a safe and supportive environment remain as important as ever, empowering students as both inquisitive problem solvers and confident artists.


Compass Arts Paper, Wood, Wool & ClayPaper, Wood, Wool & Clay
For students in K through 4th grade
Taught by Romina Robinson

Paper, Wood, Wool & Clay is a class for curious kids who love to explore ideas, take on projects, and follow their inspirations! As the title suggests, we will focus on materials, coupled with a smattering of inspirational sources ranging from contemporary artists, to architecture, history, and more.

What can we make with paper as the primary ingredient in our creative recipe? Together, we will follow this formula:
1. take time to explore and experiment,
2. make lists and brainstorm,
3. draft an idea for a "goal" project,
4. and with the support and guidance of Romina, pursue that goal!

What can we learn from one another as students work side by side with the same materials, but with a different vision and approach? The possibilities are endless!

  • UPCOMING:
  • Wednesdays, 4-5pm, January 12 to March 16 2022, $200 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Tactile ExplorersTactile Explorers
For little ones 18 months-3 years and a caregiver
Taught by Romina Robinson

Tactile Explorers is an arts based class for children ages 18 months-3 years old. Through thoughtfully arranged "invitations to create," little ones will be empowered to make choices, explore ideas, and discover materials that just might result in squeals of delight. Please come prepared with a change of clothes, as these young artists tend to dive right in!

  • UPCOMING:
  • Tuesdays, 9:30-10:15am, January 11 to March 15 2022, $200 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Drawing Cartooning IllustrationDrawing, Cartooning, and Illustration
For students in 2nd - 5th grade
Taught by Ed Murr

Join us as we enter the world of storytelling through drawing, cartooning and illustration! Through observation, inquiry, and the use of shape language, students will learn drawing basics and techniques that will allow them to take their ideas and concepts and bring them to the page, setting the stage for a lifetime of exploration and self expression through drawing.

Each student will be met wherever they are in their artistic development and skills will be taught through the students’ original work, empowering each child in their own creative ideas and establishing a love of storytelling through drawing, cartoons, and illustration.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Thursdays, 4-5pm, January 13 to March 17 2022, $200 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts ElementsElements: A Multi Sensory Exploration of Art & Music
For children 3-5 years old
Taught by Romina Robinson and Jessie Shaffer

We are thrilled to bring back this beloved class that combines music, art, science, and sensory play. Using a thematic approach, students will be guided in magical explorations of music and art through stories, music, movement, art-making, and natural materials. STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) concepts will be interwoven throughout the arts experiences, giving children a multifaceted understanding of the world around them that is developmentally on target for their age.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Fridays, 10:30am-11:30am January 14 to March 18 2022, $200 (sibling discounts available)


Team Creative Directions: A Middle & High School Arts Program

When we asked our students what they like best about Team Creative Directions classes, one of them said this: “I just love the atmosphere. It’s like, I’m weird, you’re weird, we’re all weird, let’s get together in our weirdness and create weird stuff together.”

We think that sums it up pretty well. Compass Arts classes offer a creative, supportive environment where tweens and teens can feel free to be themselves, to pursue creative ideas, to challenge themselves, and to explore their identities. They’ll also have the opportunity to build some practical life and job skills through envisioning and executing projects, either individually or collectively.

In TCD (as the kids call it), there is a lot of laughter and a real sense of community. Kids can work on their own projects, collaborate with others, and cultivate new skills in both the arts and life. Whether we're improvising a scene, singing a song, working on a volunteer project, playing a board game, or making a drawing come to life, the core values of TCD remain the same: empathy, community, creative exploration, growth, and embracing the differences that make us special.

In all of our classes, we see creating as a process that continues over the arc of a year, with each season building on the skills and explorations of the previous session. Students are encouraged to participate in the full year but are welcome to sign up for individual sessions. The FALL will be focused on forming relationships and building a foundation of skills to draw upon for creating original work. In the WINTER, we will continue to develop those skills while creating original work and bringing a stage production to life. The SPRING will be an opportunity for celebrating our successes, reflecting on our creative journey, and pursuing new project ideas.

Healthy snack options will be available to students prior to classes starting at 5:15pm and we are working on a Friday after school hangout option for those enrolled in a TCD class Monday through Thursday. We’ll email with more details on both of these once folks are registered!


Compass Arts RompatomTCD* - Rompatom Middle and High School Choir and Music Ensemble
For students in 5th through 12th grade
Directed by Gina Samardge and Assisted by Jessie Shaffer

A youth choir with a twist, Rompatom Middle and High School Choir and Music Ensemble will primarily focus on a wide variety of choral music repertoire (indie pop, folk, classical, musical theater, jazz, etc.) with instrumental opportunities on percussion, ukulele, recorder, or instruments that the students are studying privately. Students will work on a variety of multi-part choral pieces, some pre-existing pieces and some songs that are selected, arranged, and have vocal and instrumental parts created by the director and students in the ensemble. This winter and spring we will be running a 14 week class with performances as part of our end of year showcase the weekend of April 30 and May 1, 2022. No experience necessary. All students will need to participate in a voice placement evaluation. *TCD = Team Creative Directions. For more info about our Team Creative Directions format, see description above.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Mondays, 5:15-6:45pm, January 24 to May 2 2022, $390 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Theater GamesTCD* - Improv Theater Skills
For students in 6th through 12th grade
Taught by Eric Saiet and Assisted by Gwynne Watkins

Both new and seasoned performers are welcome in this improv class for middle and high school students. We’ll learn a variety of improvisation and theater games that encourage creativity, team building, quick thinking and communication skills, as well as being ridiculously fun. Students in this class are also working on long form improvisation, where they improvise an entire story/play informed by simple conversation and character work. This winter and spring we will be running a 16 week class with performances as part of our end of year showcase the weekend of April 30 and May 1, 2022. This [Tuesday] class is intended as a compliment to [Wednesday’s] Theater Crafters (Team Creative Directions) but students may sign up for one or both. *TCD = Team Creative Directions. For more info about our Team Creative Directions format, see description above.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Tuesdays, 5:15-6:45pm, January 11 to May 3 2022, $450 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts CraftersTCD* - Theater Crafters
For students in 6th through 12th grade
Taught by Eric Saiet and Assisted by Gwynne Watkins

In this middle and high school theater class, we learn about the craft and creation of theater by reading and performing scenes from our favorite comedies and dramas, studying monologues, developing original characters, and creating our own work. This winter and spring we will be running a 16 week class where students will create original works that will be performed at our end of year showcase the weekend of April 30 and May 1, 2022. This [Wednesday] class is intended as a compliment to [Tuesday’s] TCD* Improv Theater but students may sign up for one or both. *TCD = Team Creative Directions. For more info about our Team Creative Directions format, see description above.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Wednesdays, 5:15-6:45pm, January 12 to May 4 2022, $450 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Intermediate Drawing, Cartooning, and IllustrationTCD* - Intermediate Drawing, Cartooning, and Illustration
For students in 6th through 12th grade
Taught by Ed Murr

This intermediate class focuses on development of the more traditional training of Cartooning and Illustration. Core topics that will be considered are perspective, composition, value and color. Students will continue to explore Cartooning and Illustration at their own pace and skills will be added as it enhances their work. Consideration of Sequential Art and Storytelling will be introduced. Let’s keep those stories going! *TCD = Team Creative Directions. For more info about our Team Creative Directions format, see description above.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Thursdays, 5:15-6:45pm, January 13 to March 17 2022, $280 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Team Creative Directions HangTeam Creative Directions: The Hang
For students in 6th through 12th grade
Led by Gina Samardge and Gwynne Watkins

The TCD Hang;  creativity games and getting to know each other over pizza while discussing potential TCD projects.

  • UPCOMING:
  • No hangs for the moment, please check back.


Saturday Arts Potpourri Series

Join the CACP early childhood teaching crew on a tour of the arts! Each date in our Saturday series will be facilitated by a different teacher with a different specialization. Sign up for your favorite or sample them all. Different classes have different age ranges.


Compass Arts Music and MindfulnessSaturday Arts Potpourri - Music and Mindfulness
For little ones 2 to 7 years old and a caregiver
Taught by Jessie Shaffer and Heather Davies

Join in on the play with your child as we blend yoga asana, breathing practices, age appropriate meditation and lots of awesome music to create a fun and engaging program. Mindfulness is a great way to practice being aware of our bodies and what we are experiencing in them. Teaching and modeling mindfulness tools can help children regulate emotions and avoid feeling overwhelmed in this fast moving world. We add music and movement to help children access these tools easily and have fun!

  • UPCOMING:
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, January 22 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, February 19 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Tactile ExplorersSaturday Arts Potpourri - Tactile Explorers
For little ones 18 months-3 years and a caregiver
Taught by Romina Robinson

Tactile Explorers is an arts based class for children ages 18 months-3 years old. Through thoughtfully arranged "invitations to create," little ones will be empowered to make choices, explore ideas, and discover materials that just might result in squeals of delight. Please come prepared with a change of clothes, as these young artists tend to dive right in!

  • UPCOMING:
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, January 29 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, February 26 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Musical StewSaturday Arts Potpourri - Musical Stew
For little ones 6 months-4 years and a caregiver
Taught by Gina Samardge

Rooted in music education approaches such as Orff-Schulwerk, Kodaly and Dalcroze, Musical Stew provides adults with songs, rhymes and activities to help nurture their child's musical development and allow the little ones to begin an integrative musical journey that lets music work its magic. Each class explores a variety of musical concepts through playful songs, rhymes, fingerplays, props, and small percussion instruments while providing a space for young ones to grow cognitively, physically and emotionally.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, February 5 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, March 5 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)

Compass Arts Dance MakersSaturday Arts Potpourri - Dance Makers
For little ones 18 months-6 years and a caregiver
Taught by Chelsea Acree

What are the elements of a story? What tools can we use to tell this story? We will use our body and space (and screen) to create a collaborative performance experience. After a quick warm up we will read a story and discuss the important elements to make our own version through movement. Let’s practice the art of dance by moving together and sharing the creative process.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, February 12 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)
  • Saturday, 9:30-10:15am, March 12 2022, $20 (sibling discounts available)


Holiday Maker Weekend (December 11-12)

A community building series of workshops that will get your hands working and your mind dreaming.


Compass Arts Needle Felting 101Needle Felting 101: A Family Workshop
For children ages 5 and up with a caregiver, held outdoors
Taught by Romina Robinson

Learn the basics of needle felting! Participants will be supplied with instruction and materials to create two needle felted creations! Together, we will cover the basic steps needed to create a three dimensional form, and how to enhance that form with little details. After initial guidance, participants will be given time, materials, and support to create their own vision!

This workshop will be held outdoors under our "circus" tent with heaters. In the event that all registrants are vaccinated or can show proof of recent testing for COVID-19, the workshop will be moved indoors with all participants masked.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Saturday, 10am-11am, December 11 2021, $45 (add-on participants available)

Compass Arts Needle Felting 101Needle Felting 101: A Workshop for Adults
Adults only, held indoors
Taught by Romina Robinson

Learn the basics of needle felting! Participants will be supplied with instruction and materials to create two hand-held needle felted figures. Once you learn the basics, the possibilities of what you can create are endless! First, we will work through the process step-by-step, creating a small "bear" like figure with four limbs, ears, and eyes. Next, participants will be given time and materials to design and create their own creation. Make a baby bear to go with your big bear, a forest companion, a space alien, whatever you can imagine! These unique works of art make great holiday gifts.

This workshop will be held indoors, all attendees must be masked and vaccinated or show proof of recent testing for COVID-19.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Saturday, 7pm-8:30pm, December 11 2021, $40

Compass Arts Bird BungalowsBird Bungalows: Woodworking for Middle/Highschoolers
For students in 6th through 12th grade
Taught by Andrew Brehm

During this workshop we will learn some basic woodworking techniques to create birdhouses made of driftwood and other salvaged materials. No prior woodworking experience is necessary.

Andrew Brehm is a sculptor, teacher, and parent who lives here in Beacon, NY. He received his degree in furniture making from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and his MFA in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University. Andrew exhibits his work locally and elsewhere and currently manages the Visual Arts Shops at Columbia University. Website: andrewbrehm.info

This workshop will be held indoors, all participants must be masked and vaccinated or show proof of recent testing for COVID-19.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Sunday, 1:30pm-3:30pm, December 12 2021, $45 (TCD discount available)


Classes For Adults


Compass Arts Beacon Rising ChoirBeacon Rising Choir
Directed by Gina Samardge

Beacon Rising Choir was conceived out of a combination of a women's singing circle led by Kim Chase and Gina Samardge, and an impromptu resistance choir inspired by what has become the anthem of the Women's March, MILCK's "I Can't Keep Quiet." Historically, the choir has performed an annual winter concert as a fundraiser for a local grassroots non-profit doing the good work in our community, as well as participating in community events, activism, and other area fundraisers in the fall and spring. The choir sings a variety of styles and genres with an eye toward interesting, beautiful, and artistic literature. New members will need to attend a voice placement with the director.

No experience is necessary for this choir, however some prior experience is helpful. This winter and spring we will be running a 14 week class with performances as part of our end of year Compass Arts student showcase the weekend of April 30 and May 1, 2022. Rehearsals will begin inside at the Beacon Hebrew Alliance in January but we will move outside under our circus tent in the spring once the weather has improved.

Please email gina@compassarts.org to schedule your voice placement time once you have registered for the choir.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Mondays, 7:30pm-9:00pm, January 24 to May 2 2022, $175

Compass Arts Needle Felting 101Needle Felting 101: A Workshop for Adults
Adults only, held indoors
Taught by Romina Robinson

Learn the basics of needle felting! Participants will be supplied with instruction and materials to create two hand-held needle felted figures. Once you learn the basics, the possibilities of what you can create are endless! First, we will work through the process step-by-step, creating a small "bear" like figure with four limbs, ears, and eyes. Next, participants will be given time and materials to design and create their own creation. Make a baby bear to go with your big bear, a forest companion, a space alien, whatever you can imagine! These unique works of art make great holiday gifts.

This workshop will be held indoors, all attendees must be masked and vaccinated or show proof of recent testing for COVID-19.

  • UPCOMING:
  • Saturday, 10am-11am, December 11 2021, $40
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Compass Arts Creativity Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Tax deductible donations to Compass Arts can be made on our donate page.

COMPASS ARTS CREATIVITY PROJECT

333 Fishkill Avenue, Beacon, New York
(Beacon Music Factory building)


CONTACT COMPASS ARTS

Tel: 917.648.4454
enrich@compassarts.org

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