Hoping for success at ISAS

Traditional festivities resume post COVID


Senior Catherine Choi works on a self portrait in preparation for ISAS

Melody Tian

For the past three years, ISAS had either been shortened or canceled due to COVID, and this year marks the first time it will resume its normal activity after the pandemic.

ISAS is a yearly festival intended to foster high standards and stimulate creativity in the performing and fine arts programs for independent schools. This year, the festival will be held April 13-15 at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth.

“We did extra lunchtime concerts and coffeehouses the past few years because we felt the loss of the festival,” said Performing Arts Chair Emily Gray. “Thankfully, ISAS is going back to what it was four or five years ago, and I think most people are very happy with that.”

The festival starts at 8 a.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. At the beginning of each hour, there will be new performances and exhibitions from different fine arts. Students can also participate in workshops and master classes by local professionals.

Gray said the festival is a concentrated experience that would be hard to emulate in any other setting, with a multitude of theatrical events, workshops and classes.

“Even if I took my students to the most expensive trip to New York or London, there is no way they could see five one-act plays, three improv troupes, an orchestra and a dance group all in the course of three days and two nights,” Gray said. 

There will also be tons of choices, everything ranging from doing yoga and paper marbling on the lawn to sitting and talking with friends while drinking a coffee. Depending on the student, Gray said the ISAS experience could be a great learning opportunity or a more laid-back and relaxed festival.

Fine Arts Board Chair Maia Hartley said one of her favorite activities last year was a visual arts loom, where people had the chance to add yarn to a large rectangular string design.

Though ISAS could be an unforgettable experience for students, teachers may also enjoy the event. Gray said she has attended workshops by talented professors and listened to what they had to say.

“I’ll just kind of stand in the back and listen, and so in a funny sort of way, it’s kind of extra professional development and inspiration to faculty,” Gray said.

Studio Art is planning to bring a great body of student work to ISAS where they will be critiqued by other artists, art teachers and professionals.

“I always look forward to this as a good milestone,” said Studio Art teacher Bobby Weiss, “We have to have work ready for this show because all schools are going to see it, and we want to make sure Hockaday shines.”

For students who have not attended ISAS before, Hartley said there is a lot to look forward to.

“I would recommend trying to find something new that you haven’t seen before or just going to support your friends,” Hartley said.