The formula included three veteran teachers, the D.C. school system, the Mayor's Discretionary Arts Fund, the Summer Youth Employment Program and a community half-starved for a summer program in the arts for its children.

The resulting compound was the six-week 1987 Summer Arts Camp run by Anne Beers Elementary School and the Duke Ellington School for the Arts' East of the River Community Arts Program.

Open to any child 5 to 14 years old living or attending school east of the Anacostia River, the camp attracted 81 eager participants. The efforts and initiative of three District teachers coalesced into a program with classes in dance, drama, vocal music and literary arts led by four instructors, an instructional aide and two consultants. Though the cost was $10 per week for each child, those who could not afford to pay went for free.

The midsummer camp grew out of a program that the Ellington School has run with Beers Elementary for five years. In that program, held during the school term, children attending school east of the river may participate in Saturday arts classes taught by Ellington teachers.

Gladys Bray, an Ellington teacher who heads the Saturday and summer programs, said that Beers Principal Michael Hammond asked her in late spring if there was going to be a summer program this year and "that's when the idea began."

"We started without a penny but raised the money we needed to qualify for matching grants," Bray said.

With the help of coordinators Lucille Liggins, assistant principal at Beers and a teacher at that school for more than 25 years, and Emily Washington, an English teacher at the School Without Walls, Bray financed the camp with corporate and local business donations and in-kind service donations.

To receive grant money from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the program had to raise $2 for each $1 received. "Until we got the first of our matching money, we {Bray, Liggins and Washington} put up our own money and borrowed to meet our payroll," said Bray, recalling the program's financially pinched start.

In the end, the camp cost $16,000. By raising $6,000 in cash, and nearly $5,000 in in-kind contributions, the program qualified for $5,000 in matching funds from the D.C. government.

"What I realized, and what communities need to realize, is that the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities has funds for communities," Bray said. "I'm not talking about teen-age pregnancy and drug abuse prevention. These are the arts, a way to get to the kids before they need all that."

Beers Elementary provided four air-conditioned classrooms for the camp, and the Summer Youth Employment Program provided educational aides and a literary arts instructor. A grant from the Mayor's Discretionary Arts Fund paid two consultants who helped with two projects, an African art workshop and a compilation of writings by the children.