In the summer of 2019 12-year old Lukas Hartberg and his dad Darren packed their bags and were on their way to New York. They weren’t there to see Times Square or the Statue of Liberty or to get a New York style slice of pizza. What brought them there was a theater camp and a chance to stand up for something they believe in.
The camp, known as Broadway For All, is taught by working professionals in NYC’s theater and film world that brings together art students from different racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
While looking for a summer camp to attend, Lukas said he got the idea from a choir friend who lives in New York. One of the biggest things that caught his eye was the camp’s mission statement: To shape the next generation of trailblazing activists for radical inclusivity and anti-racism through performing arts.
Hartberg has a diverse family, which includes his 8-year-old adopted sister, Abri, who is Black.
“Broadway For All stuck out to me because of the diversity,” Lukas said.
Around 500 people auditioned for the camp, with only 45 selected to attend, including Lukas.
This summer, applying to the camp was much different because of the pandemic, including virtual auditions. Lukas said he knew he had to be creative and send a message he really believed in to make the cut this time.
He decided to make a collage of his family and its main focus comes from Lukas’ heart, and was focused on the Black Lives Matter movement. The message was well received as Lukas was invited back for his second summer.
With camp being over, Lukas is still managing to stay busy. Lukas Abri started their own business making bracelets, rings and earrings out of beads. Their business, “Beautiful Beads,” was an idea sparked by their mom, Krista.
“My mom had mentioned there weren’t many Black owned businesses in Stoughton”, Lukas
said. “Me and my sister were like, oh yeah we can do that!’
Right now, their father Darren calls the bead business a work in progress. But they are looking into marketing and hope to sell them at different venues in Stoughton and the farmers market. They also have a website, beautiful-beads.business.site. When sales are up and running, some of the profit will be donated to the Mosaicos non-profit in Stoughton.
Darren and Krista are very proud parents. They shared that participating in the virtual BFA and starting the bead business this summer gave Lukas a sense of purpose for himself, for his family and for the community. BFA helped him to learn new skills and become a more well rounded performer and person, both on and off the stage. His father told a story that for his final project, the students were requested to direct their own film. Lukas had experienced performing, however this was his first time directing and producing. More important was his participation in a program whose mission is for the betterment of performing arts and community as a whole.
“The overall message is simple”, said Darren. Support and know your local community.”