Encouraging the Artist in Everyone
Art instructor Keersten Brown has a gentle touch and a real gift for helping youngsters discover the wonders of color, texture, drawing, arts and crafts, painting, mask making and more. In her weekly class, Keersten brings art to life by creating projects for her students that often support school-wide themes as well as classroom academics. Young artists like to see their posters and murals on display in the hallways; the colorful artwork creates a playful, welcoming climate for the whole school. Discovery Days, offered three to four times each year, provides even more opportunities for art explorations when community volunteers teach specialty classes like knitting, basket weaving and sculpture.
Exploring Exciting Opportunities
The role of art is equally vital in middle and high school as students continue to explore and refine their talents. Whether art leads to personal growth or a budding career choice, it offers a window of creativity unique to the teenage years. Art teacher Keersten Brown gives her students a palate of exciting electives, including textiles, ceramics, sculpture, human figure drawing and yearbook. Additional electives in photography and pottery are offered by other staff with specialized skills. Professional community artists occasionally join in, offering their talent and expertise. Click here for examples of student work.
Drama in the Schools
Drama plays a special role in our school. Productions, often staged in community venues, regularly play to sold-out audiences who enthusiastically support student performances.
Elementary students receive a casual introduction to drama with classroom skits, movement and music. Occasionally, more formal opportunities arise: a scripted radio show, performed on local community station KLOI, was a hit with students and listeners in the fall of 2009. Another radio theater broadcast of The Cat in the Hat was recorded and aired as part of Discovery Days in 2013.
Students begin developing poise, self-confidence and performance skills through drama on the secondary level. They love the innovation and excitement of the Musical Theatre class where they develop an original script, adapt a musical score and perform for the community. Advanced students participate in a popular after-school group that directs, stages and performs their own one-act plays.
Community Theatre: Collaboration at Its Best
Our community supports drama and theatre for youth through the Community Shakespeare Company and local community theatre. Students jump at the chance to be on stage, participate in a theatre company and stretch their dramatic talents in professional-quality performances.
Community Shakespeare is a local nonprofit theatre company devoted to giving K-12 students the opportunity to perform in a Shakespeare festival each autumn. “Enriching young lives, cultivating community” is the simple statement from which the exciting program has grown. Using theatre as the means, and Shakespeare as the inspiration, the Community Shakespeare Company invites all island students to participate in two theatrical productions each year: one geared toward grades 3-7, another toward grades 7-12. The age-appropriate productions, adapted and directed and by renowned playwright Richard Carter, are professionally staged with lavish costuming and beautiful sets. Each Community Shakespeare season is highly anticipated by students, families and the community. Nearly one third of the entire student population on Lopez Island participates in these productions each year–a remarkable collaboration of resident artists, parents, mentors and volunteers. Click here to view a clip.