Enrollment full for the Summer 2018 Session
Students are given instruction in various writing formats including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The focus is on positive, thoughtful, and informative analysis of writing.

We employ engaging writing prompts to help spark the flow of expression within specific time frames. The goal is to turn off the inner editor to get ideas and thoughts down as spontaneously as possible. Writing instructors and students (usually a 1:8 ratio or smaller) provide constructive feedback to help guide revision. The environment is designed to be stimulating, inspiring, and fun!

When 9:00-11:30 Monday-Friday mornings
June 11-June 22 (Two Week Session) and June 11-June 29 (Three Week Session)

Where World’s Fair Pavilion, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Zoo, Kemper Art Museum, Gaslight Theater, Webster Christian Church.

Cost $300 for 8 classes and $425 for 12 classes (see Deep Dive)


Fiction…..Students learn about the basic elements of fiction: plot, character, setting, and theme with a particular focus on conflict development, voice, point-of-view, and dialogue.

…..Students learn poetry terms and write narrative, free verse, and formal poetry including sestina, sonnet, villanelle, and other forms.

Creative Nonfiction…..The most popular form of literature outselling fiction 10:1. This genre is all about writing a real story using fictive elements like conflict, setting, dialogue, developed characters, and a plotline.

Drama…..Just like any story, a play must have a beginning, middle & end. Students work on a one-act play and are taught the nine elements of playwriting including— dramatic conflict, strategies for dealing with the conflict, logical behavior, cause & effect, plot obstacles, forward action, developed character arc, and theatricality.

Guest Artists 

Steve Ewing is the lead singer of The Urge, one of the most successful bands to ever launch out of St. Louis. The band’s eclectic mix of hip-hop, ska, punk, and reggae sent a sonic shockwave from the Midwest that can still be felt decades after they first launched. The band signed to Immortal/Epic Records, home to bands such as Korn, Incubus, and Thirty Seconds To Mars, and released three albums of their own. Alternative radio stations everywhere were spinning All Washed Up, Brainless, It’s Gettin’ Hectic, Too Much Stereo, and the alternative radio top ten hit, Jump Right in. The Urge has frequently headlined Pointfest at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre and has a reputation as one of the best live bands in the country. Steve also fronts The Steve Ewing Band and is the owner of the amazing Steve’s Hotdogs in St. Louis.

Jump Right In Live


Allison Felter is a national leader in advancing opera education in the community. As Director fo Education and Community Engagement at Opera Theater of St. Louis, she supervises more than a dozen year-round educational programs., reaching students at more than 100 metro area schools. The award-winning high school artists-in-training program she oversees is a national model, offering not only college level vocal training, but fostering discipline, teamwork, and academic success, with a nearly perfect record of sending students on to college—all with scholarship support. To date, three acclaimed operas for young people have been co-commissioned during Allison’s tenure. She is a charter Advisory Board member of the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Collaborative at UMSL. Allison works collaboratively to offer a wide range of programming to underserved populations, such as Opera Camp for Kids in North City, Oper on the Go! which reaches primarily urban schools and hosting opera singers at detention centers. Beyond schools, partner organizations include the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, radio and tv networks, and Arts and Faith St. Louis.

James Ibur is a potter, vessel-maker, sculptor, and curator living in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the Coordinator of Ceramic Art and Assistant Chair of Design, Visual and Performing Arts at Saint Louis Community College – Meramec. Ibur received an MFA from the University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana, studied at UC/Davis and a BA from the University of Colorado/Boulder as well as residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation and Banff Centre for the Arts. Jim is interested in what the past can reveal about the future. He creates ceramic objects that look decayed, weathered and beaten up by time. His newest work returns to figurative vessels and solid forms with fossil references. Ideas about time, the past, the future and the often subtle and sometimes chaotic relationships between the inside and the outside drive the narrative.

Interns for the 2018 Summer Session

Lily Ibur is a 2015 graduate of Clayton High School. She performs in a band with her sister called Bella & Lily and after signing a management deal in 2016 decided to pursue a career in music. In addition to working as a singer/songwriter, Lily was a student in Gifted Arts for six years and has worked as an intern for two years. She and her sister, Bella, have performed and worked with producers in Nashville, Austin, New York, and Los Angeles. They have their first single called “Jeans” coming out from Universal Music early this summer. You can check them out at or on Facebook under

Sydney Cimarolli
is completing her senior year at Webster Groves High School. Sydney has been a part of the Gifted Arts since 2012. She was a finalist in the Labute New Theater Festival in 2015 and received a Gold and Silver key in the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Aside from writing, Sydney enjoys reading, acting, and hiking. In 2018, Sydney is attending American University.

Ella Genovese is completing her senior year at Nerinx Hall High School. She has been a student of The Gifted Arts Program since 2013. Ella won the River Styx Founder’s Award for Poetry and two Silver Keys for a photograph and a short story in the 2017 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Alongside writing, she enjoys making short films, two of which have been part of the Official Selection for the All American High School Film Festival and the St. Louis International Film Festival. Ella is attending Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

Olivia Bickford is entering her senior year at Webster Groves High School. She has been in Gifted Arts since the summer before seventh grade. Olivia is involved in Webster Groves High A Cappella and has been featured in the school’s literary magazine, The Branch. She was an intern last summer in Gifted Arts and is looking forward to returning this summer.

Bill Harned is completing his sophomore year at Webster Groves High School and has been involved with the Gifted Arts Projects for four years. He is a music lover, performing with the WGHS Acapella and Silver Strings Orchestra, as well as writing and listening to music in his free time. He is looking forward to working with the incoming writers this summer.

Ellie Gilstrap has been in the Gifted Writers program for four years and will be entering her junior year at Webster Groves High School. She has been an active member of the Webster Theater Department and A Cappella group. Ellie has been a finalist in the high school’s annual AllWrite competition for two years and has been featured in copies of The Branch, a literary magazine. She is looking forward to future years of participating and helping with the Gifted Writers program.





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