About Appel Farm
Our Mission and Values
Appel Farm strives to co-create experiences that inspire people to unleash their inherent creativity, leading to self-discovery, personal growth, community building, and joy.
At Appel Farm, we believe artmaking is a healing practice, a community practice, and a way of recognizing people for who they are. Because of these defining values, we have always been a leader and at the forefront of social justice advocacy. During the Civil Rights Movement, our founder Albert Appel was a vocal supporter of the racial integration of all ACA Member Camps, when that was not a popular opinion to have. In the last five years, as more and more camps recognize the need for infrastructure that includes transgender and gender-non-conforming campers, Appel Farm has pushed ourselves and our peer organizations to pilot gender inclusive bunks, gender neutral bathrooms, and the reexamining of if/why we even collect information like sex or gender. This precedent is integral to who we are as an organization. We at Appel Farm are most proud that we are upfront about who we are and who we are for, ensuring that we are reaching those who most need this space.
Our History: Transformative Arts & Learning
In 1960, guided by a sense of curiosity and grounded in humor and hard work, Albert and Clare Appel transitioned their 176-acre farm and its 20,000 chickens into a thriving summer community focused on the raw talent and emergent curiosity of humans aged 7 to 17: Appel Farm Arts Camp was born.
The Appels, both professional musicians and music educators, believed that the arts play a crucial role in developing a child’s learning skills, encouraging personal growth, and instilling a sense of community and responsibility. They believed that all children have artistic talent, thus the camp was intended to promote a supportive environment in which the individual child can learn, experience and grow in a wide variety of artistic media.
Appel Farm Arts & Music Center was incorporated in 1978 as a non-profit, charitable and educational organization with tax-exempt status, professional staff, and volunteer Board of Directors.
Over the past 60 years, Appel Farm has delivered transformative arts and learning experiences as the arts education leader in South Jersey, raising the bar of arts education for our children and our families. Now in its seventh decade, Appel Farm has evolved into a multidisciplinary regional arts center serving audiences, artists, and students through programs on our campus, in local schools, and in the community. Our programs build on the Appel’s founding principles, providing opportunities for arts education, arts appreciation, and creative expression to more than 32,000 children and adults annually.