It is small wonder that a school which is grounded in our mission as a church would utilize the fine arts as a means of spiritual formation of its community of learning. I am excited to share with you the reflections of the Director of Fine Arts, Holli Richardson.
At St. Stephen’s we provide an opportunity for students to express themselves, explore creative outlets, and see their work affirmed. The arts program is crucial for giving students confidence in their own creativity; a confidence that translates into all aspects of their academic life.
St. Stephen’s Fine Arts Program integrates the arts with our core curriculum. For example, throughout the year we’ve explored various ways to link the arts with sciences, doing units on the physics of sound in music and using film as a medium for presenting science concepts. Working with Spanish classes during October, students created displays explaining Dia de los Muertos; the high school works were displayed at Lawndale Art Center. Elementary students created Monarch butterflies that became part of a transnational migration, ending up in Ocampo, Mexico.
This was also the first year St Stephen’s students performed their first licensed school musical: Godspell Jr. The students committed to an intense schedule of rehearsals over the course of the school eyar. The performances in March—including a special matinee for the student body— made clear how well they had perfected their craft.
Within the Fine Arts Program we provide students with the opportunity to learn from professional artists. This opened this year with a workshop presented by recording artist Darden Smith, titled “Be an Artist.” We presented a script writing workshop by professional writer and producer Linda Segar and hosted a master class by Broadway legend Lilias White with the Broadway Theatre Project. Toward the end of the year, the art program partnered with Grassroots Art in Action to bring Rene Garza to St. Stephen’s as an Artist in Residence.
Throughout the course of the year students have had the experience of seeing their work received by others. Middle school students wrote original compositions for violin and saw them performed by a professional violinist from the Houston Grand Opera. Visual artists displayed work on campus and at the Lawndale Gallery. Student Michael Zepeda was a Silver Key winner in the annual Scholastics Arts Awards and had his work displayed at Texas Art Supply.
On May 1 St. Stephen’s will continue the tradition of celebrating our students, with an evening of film, fashion design, dancing, photography and music. The Film and Fashion Show will be held at Discovery Green beginning at 7:00 p.m. With a pre-show reception at Esperson Gallery for our photography students beginning at 6:00 p.m.