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Kirk Franklin’s Camp Lotus blooms this summer in Downtown Arlington

This June, over forty aspiring young musicians will come to Downtown Arlington for a life-changing experience.

As the first-ever participants in Camp Lotus -- a new, one-week intensive music camp -- select 9th – 12th graders will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most respected names in the recording industry. Camp Lotus is the brainchild of 12-time Grammy Award winning artist Kirk Franklin, and it will take place in his state-of-the-art recording studio in the heart of Downtown Arlington.

It seems that Camp Lotus is as much dream come true for Kirk Franklin as it is for its young participants.

Building the Dream

“Building and opening Fo So Soul Entertainment Studio has been a long-time dream of Kirk’s, ever since he began his professional music career over 25 years ago,” said Tammy Franklin, Kirk’s wife and Creative Director for FYS Entertainment.

Arlington has long been a special place for the Franklins. Kirk and Tammy met at Wet’n’Wild (now Hurricane Harbor) shortly after graduating from high school, and they’ve remained in Arlington to raise their children because of its rich cultural and economic diversity.

“We love Arlington’s small town, yet big city feel,” said Tammy. “We felt it was important for the raising of our family, which is why we’ve chosen not to move to other states that are more known for the entertainment industry.”

Kirk used to work out of Luminous Studios, which is about fifteen minutes north of Galleria Dallas. “He would drive over an hour just to get there,” said Tammy. “Sometimes he'd pour water over his head to stay awake at 5:00 a.m. so that he can get home to see the children off to school!”

When Kirk opened FYS Entertainment Studio in Downtown just a couple of years ago, he wanted to create a state-of-the-art facility that was close to home, not only for recording his own music but to offer to other professional recording artists. Tori Kelly’s 2018 Hiding Place album was recorded at the Studio as well as Kirk’s upcoming album Long Live Love, which is set to release on May 31.

Camp Lotus

For years, Kirk also had a dream to help aspiring artists, to provide the kind of early mentoring that he did not receive. To be able to do so at his very own studio is beyond what he ever imagined.

Camp Lotus aims to help aspiring musicians maximize their potential and aid them in preparing for a career in the music industry. With workshops in songwriting, music production, media, and music business, students will write and record their own song, conduct an interview, learn marketing techniques using digital media, and more. Camp Lotus concludes with a Grand Finale concert featuring campers performing at the Levitt Pavilion in Downtown.

“It’s very exciting to be a part of the Levitt Pavilion’s already outstanding reputation for bringing the city together around the arts,” said Tammy. “Through this partnership, campers are given the opportunity to work together and to individually showcase what they’ve learned over the course of the week. It’s also an opportunity for the community support their own, up-and-coming artists.”

Why the name Camp Lotus?

The lotus flower, although beautiful to the eye, only grows in the muck and mire of mud. Much like Kirk’s humble beginnings -- adopted at the age of four and being raised in a not-so-ideal environment -- he ultimately blossomed through the love of teachers, leaders and music.

“Kirk is so excited to impart what he’s learned into aspiring musicians and creatives,” said Tammy, “and we’re excited to be a part of Downtown Arlington’s thriving revitalization.”

Referral applications being accepted now

Referral applications for Camp Lotus are being accepted now through May 15, 2019. Youth who are entering 9th - 12th grades are eligible to apply. Finalists will be notified by May 31 to submit a full application, including a short audition video.

“As the applicants prepare their videos,” said Tammy, “we advise them to be themselves. The Camp is an opportunity to enhance and grow, so we’re not expecting nor wanting perfection. We’re looking for authenticity and potential.”

For more information, visit

Get involved

As the Franklins like to say, “We don’t have fans, we have friends. When you look at people as friends, everybody is coming together for a common purpose.”

Thanks to generous sponsors and donors, Camp Lotus will be free to all participants. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Nina Jones at or 817-239-2417.

About Downtown Arlington

Designated by the State of Texas as the Arlington Cultural District, Downtown Arlington blends a unique mix of activities, sights, tastes and sounds that attract visitors and locals alike. Within its less than a two-mile radius, Downtown is home to a top tier public research university, prolific fine and performing artists and arts institutions, live entertainment, exciting NCAA and professional athletics, one-of-a-kind dining and retail, and a supportive business climate. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, tag us with @DTArlington and click here to subscribe to Downtown Arlington’s weekly e-newsletter.