Mixing It Up: Fine Arts Continues to Integrate Visual, Performing arts

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//PICTURED ABOVE: Sophomores Tukwa Ashan and Sydney Ghorayeb look at a piece of art displayed in the choir room during intermission at Coffeehouse.

Last year, the Upper School Fine Arts Board, led by Kate Short ‘19, decided to integrate Coffeehouse, an event where performing arts students perform in the auditorium, by creating an interactive experience that showcased visual art pieces as well. The board placed art pieces on the stage, around the performers, in the lobby and throughout the theater for the audience to see.

This year’s Fine Arts Board Chair Lily Forbes wants to further the integration of fine arts during her time at Hockaday.

“The fine arts department is unique, said Susan Sanders-Rosenberg, Visual Arts chair. “While the disciplines are related to each other because of shared aesthetic, elements of design and philosophical components, the means of execution or the varied media are specific to each.”

Changes made by the Upper School Fine Arts Board are an example of the efforts to collaborate between the fine arts disciplines. Every fine art form now has an elected representative on the board that advocates for them and brings their perspective to play, allowing the board to plan events to intertwine their disciplines.

Every student is given a multitude of options to choose from for their Upper School fine art credit. Drama, tech theater, studio art, ceramics, choir, dance, debate, film, orchestra, private instrument lessons and photography are just a few of the many options. While all of the fine arts are showcased throughout the year, the performing arts and visual arts rarely intertwine because of their different natures. Forbes said more students could learn about the different disciplines with collaboration.

“Each fine art is very focused on its craft, and Hockaday students are so busy that there’s not always time to explore more than just one fine arts class,” Forbes said.

The coffeehouse and dance events are allowing students to reach beyond their own arts experience to see other students’ work. During intermission, the audience got an opportunity to walk through all of the art pieces. There was also a screen in the choir room for audience members to watch films created by film students and watch Hockadance in the Lacerte Family Black Box.

The 2019-2020 Fine Arts Board worked to incorporate visual arts into its “Haunted Coffeehouse,” on Oct. 5, and plans to do the same throughout the rest of this year. Performing Arts Chair Beth Wortley praised the board’s effort in showcasing the arts across disciplines.

“This coffeehouse was the most inclusive event to date to demonstrate all the various talents of our students in the fine arts department,” Wortley said.

On top of traditional coffeehouse stage performances, like singing, dancing, improv and instrument performance, the board set up an art and photography gallery in the choir room, a table with the work of Vibrato and The Fourcast and a Hockadance improvisational performance in the Black Box.

They even added an interactive arts-and-crafts aspect for audience members to participate. Brown paper bags were spread out to decorate so the audience could fill them with candy as they went through each exhibit during intermission.

This fall, Hockadance and the visual arts are collaborating for ART IN MOTION on Nov. 20. Advanced Studio Art and AP Studio Art students are designing costumes and sets for the dancers, drawing inspiration from important artists from the same time period as the dancers’ music. Additionally, Sanders said she is educating the dancers about the featured visual artists.

“I will be meeting with Hockaday dance students to give brief lectures on the artists that are being spotlighted as inspirational to the choreography of the dances (Matisse, Picasso, Laurencin, Chagall),” Sanders said.

Additionally, the Middle School orchestra and choir concert on Dec. 5 will showcase the work of Middle School artists in the Lacerte Family Lobby to integrate the arts in the lower grades.

Sanders said the Fine Arts department’s efforts to move forward and stay current will be upheld and improved upon.

“In the 21st century, we are seeing a move towards cross-discipline, mixed/ multiple media pieces,” Sanders said, “and Hockaday is very excited to be able to be proactive in supporting our students as they move in that direction.”

Story by Libby Hill

Photo by Victoria Gonzalez

Libby Hill

Libby is a sophomore who loves any type of dessert, dried fruit and spearmint gum. She can usually be found at Bachman Lake (wearing her crocs!), talking about being born on 04/04/04 and watching a good sunrise/sunset.

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