100 Years of Camping on this Site
1910 – 2010
Beginning in 1910, Lawrence Hall, a Chicago orphanage for boys, operated a summer camp on this site, known as Camp Hardy. The program ended in 1963. Three years later, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp was established here.
The inspiration for the fine arts camp came from the Arens Art Colony which was founded by Ludolph Arens in 1922. The colony was located on the Idlewild Peninsula in Door County, Wisconsin, where it thrived until 1948. This summer school of the arts may have been the first such program in America dedicated to providing intensive instruction in the arts for gifted young people in a beautiful natural setting. Arens, as a German immigrant, was a compose, pianist, and professor at the Lawrence Conservatory in Appleton. He was also the conductor of the Polyphonia Society Orchestra, the forerunner of the current Green Bay Symphony. His innovative program for music and drama ended in 1948, one year after his death. His daughter, Marguerite Arens Stansell and her husband Gilbert then kept the dream of re-opening the Art Colony alive until 1963 when Fritz Stansell, his wife Gretchen, family and friends began a search for a new location.
In 1965, founding attorney, Seymour Rosenberg, established a holding company and subsequently a Michigan non-profit corporation that made possible the purchase of this property of Little Blue Lake, formerly Camp Hardy. The Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp began operations on July 5, 1966 with 56 enrolled in Session 1.
Ars Longa Vita Brevis