We always get excited when September comes around because it means the start of a whole new School Year at our Advanced Arts Program. This year began with some exciting changes; we now have a Modern Rock Band course, a Music Theory course, and Private Lessons Free to CPS Band Students. We also have some amazing new instructors on our team in Dance, Video Production, Photography, Modern Rock Band, and Music Theory! The 2020-2021 School Year is digital at Advanced Arts. Our instructors and administration worked hard over the summer to adapt to this new environment. Many amazing things are already happening in our classrooms, let's find out the details in these updates written by our instructors!
Animation & Sequential Arts
Animation & Sequential Arts welcomed back a record number of second year students this year! The first project of the year was their annual Exquisite Corpse Project, which is always a fun and silly way for students to get to know each other while producing some pretty surreal results! The class has begun to learn the basics of human proportions and the proportions of the face. While learning basic anatomy the class has also taken a deep dive into the work of animation master, Hayao Miyazaki. The class viewed one of his more recent films, "Spirited Away," and compared it to his first film which launched his career, "Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind."
Our first few weeks through Music Theory are some of my favorite! It’s the time when we take the things we think we know and understand, but really break them down and ask HOW and WHY? WHY does this music sound good? WHY does this music sound bad? And HOW do I write music that sounds good too. We’ve been soaring through the fundamentals of Music Theory, and discovering more about pitch, rhythm, notation, and how we put it all together! It’s only been a few weeks, but we’ve already written multiple pieces of music together and discussed everything from Arnold Schönberg to Chumbawamba. We are excitedly looking forward to the next month where we will continue to write more music and dig into the wonderful world of HARMONIES!
This is the hardest part of the year for all culinary students...the time when they can’t cook. However, this is when we talk about the history of not only the industry, but food as we eat it and as our ancestors have eaten it. We’re also exploring the importance of Fire, Water, Earth and Air and how they give life to food. We are about to move into the career aspect and are looking forward to exploring the industry be it as a job, career or as just as an appreciation for not only the industry, but for the people that work within it. By this time next month, we are hoping to have our first delivery of goods and plan on getting to work in the kitchen!
Creative Arts & Ceramics
Our first project has gotten off to a good start. Its a mobile based on the work of Alexander Calder and Sarah Sze. We began by collecting found materials like cereal boxes, plastic water bottles,beads,rocks, branches, etc.. I do not mind admitting it's been a bit of a challenge when we are not in the room with them. We are learning that it is a constant effort to keep them focused, encourage them and brainstorm ideas with them. Examples, videos made in my studio and impromptu demos is our current strategy and lots of feedback. We are seeing some encouraging initial results. I just hope we make it to the holidays.
Modern Rock Band
Our group has been exploring concepts in an amazing format provided by Berklee College of Music. Between working on our Berklee curriculum, we have been getting to know each other by sharing a song we’d want to play in the end credits of our life. The students listen without knowing who suggested the song, trying to guess, based on what they know. It’s a great way to learn what students have in common with each other. We’ve also begun song selections for our first gig and/or the showcase. Using the song selections, the students have selected to work on a couple of very different choices: “Take Me to Church,” and “I Want You Back.” The students are being guided through a more objective, goal-based practice. We’re also exploring methods of recording with available resources.
Though this school year was not what the students expected it to be, those drastic changes to virtual learning have not hinder their spirit and pure excitement of photography. Mr.Bozik and I have had the most fun teaching this class this past month, the students are just as enthusiastic about the art of photography. They are so compelled to start making their own photographs and take the huge leap into creating art with their individual voices. We just completed our very first critique in class, the portraiture assignment, which students were assigned to make 3-5 portraits. Every student presented something new and different with their portraits, there was no portrait alike in the class. And the feedback that they gave to their peers in this class has been outstanding. We have a really great bunch and can't wait to see more of their beautiful artwork.
Drawing & Painting
For our first week of Advanced Arts, we had our students warm up with figure drawings. Since we are in a remote setting, Marjorie came up with the idea of using famous dance videos to work from. We would pause at specific moments, and from there the students would make timed sketches.
From there, we spent time learning how to break down the face, in different views. From there, the class assembled in small groups and took turns drawing each other, utilizing different views and practicing what we learned.
As we gear up for the year, we are first focusing on composition, design and pacing. A natural starting point for this has been photography still compositions and montage. Students are exploring narrative themes through abstract imagery montage. To complete the work, students are merging expressionistic sounds with realistic sounds students capture and find on their own to build a soundscape that fits their abstract narrative imagery. The impetus of this exploration has been guided by investigating the juxtaposition of fears and aspirations. Rough cuts are emerging.
The dance department of AAP is taking on the power of active citizenship by creating "Revolution in Motion" Voting PSAs. Students are expanding their virtual performances to emphasize real-world learning and community activism through dance. This year the largest and most diverse generation in our history will be eligible to vote. AAP Dance Students hope to inspire these 70 million young voters to vote. On November 3, 2020, 86 out of 99 legislative chambers are holding elections. Voters will decide who sits in 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 24 seats in the Senate, along with 13 Governors, sheriffs, the district attorneys and the judges too. These students are a REVOLUTION IN MOTION creating, performing, connecting and responding to today's world around them. Voting doesn't just count - it affects everything.
Although distant, we have been making some great connections in Theatre! We began our year getting to know each member of our new ensemble and building trust with each other and the process. We talked about the art of collaboration and how theatre can also be activism. We spent some time reflecting on our first experiences of theater and connected it to why we participate in theater-making today. It was great to learn about all the unique talent in our group! We recognized that we can be the change that we are all eager to see in our society and it starts with the many ways we can build each other up in our class. Mrs. Mostad and Mr. Phillips have jumped right in to teaching the Fundamentals of Acting. We have learned our daily warm-up routine, discussed the main elements needed to find an active monologue, received some memorizing tips & tricks, how to score our scripts (beats, objectives, tactics), and we’re reading and listening to A Raisin and the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Today, we will present monologues for the first time!
Come back next MONTH for more updates from our Advanced Arts Classrooms!
Spring Showcase and the end of the year are almost upon us. The 2019 - 2020 school year is our 20th anniversary, and while it brought us some unexpected twists and turns, we are proud to say our school is going strong. We look forward to seeing where we are in another 20 years. Students and Staff have been hard at work this week putting the finishing touches on their Showcase Exhibits which will be completely virtual this year. Let's check in and see what everyone worked on last week...
Animation & Sequential Arts
Students completed their short films for our Virtual Spring Showcase and the results are fantastic. With their individual films combined, students have created a Stop Motion Short Film Collection over 20 minutes in length. This Collection will debut in our Virtual Spring Showcase! Students are currently working on a Zine that chronicles their personal quarantine stories, and some might even submit their Zines to Chicago Zine Fest for their upcoming youth voice readings! We are excited to see if any of their work is accepted!
Creative Arts Ceramics
This week, most of the culinary students are recovering from AP tests and winding down the year by safely making comfort food for their friends and families. Culinary Arts is also working on their final submissions to be displayed in our Virtual Showcase.
Let's just say our Dancers are "Feelin' Good!"
Drawing & Painting
Mr. Alex & Mr. Matt have been collecting up a lot of work from their students, and it all looks AMAZING! Considering all of the obstacles the students have faced, this work is a testament to the talent and hard work of our Drawing & Painting class. We are excited to honor them. Here's a little teaser of the latest work that will be in the show! To see this and more, join us for our Virtual Showcase!
Our photography students worked with the photo teaching team to create and curate an original photo series. They experience photography as a way to communicate and heal.
Work, Werk, Wurrrrk!! Our Theatre students were moving and shaking over in AAP TheatreLand this week! Students recorded monologues that would impress any agent, created funny skits, wrote poetry, wrote monologues, wrote and acted in an original scene, wrote a mysterious new one-act play, sang a song about the beauty of coming together, and learn more about creating/recording/editing videos. Ms. Mostad and Mr. Weddington met with students to dig deeper into their craft and help with recording. It's been hard work, and it's been extremely fun. This is such a terrific group of students! We cannot wait for you to check out our section in our Virtual Showcase!
This week, the video students worked on their independent projects! They continued preparing for Showcase by uploading their work from the past year with short artist statements. At our weekly meeting, we reviewed the itinerary for the next week. Teachers had check-ins on the students' current progress and independent work on their independent project treatments as they develop them into their final form.
We're super excited for everyone to see our students' videos in Showcase!
Come back next week for more updates from our Advanced Arts Classrooms!