October has come to a close and with it we wrap up the first quarter of the school year. Time sure flies when you are having fun. With the school year being virtual this year, we couldn't gather for our annual School Halloween Festivities, but we hope to be able to gather in person for Halloween 2021. Our classes are working on a wide range of curriculum, but all share the common goal now of preparing work for our 2020 Virtual Winter Showcase, where Advanced Arts students show off their artwork, culinary creations, and perform!
Let's check in with each class and see what they've been up to...
Animation & Sequential Arts
In October Animation & Sequential Arts decided to continue the annual artistic tradition of Inktober. Inktober is an annual month long celebration of ink based art in October. Each day a new Inktober artistic prompt is shared, and artists create and share illustrations based off the prompt of the day. This year the class decided it would be fun to create their own prompts, and renamed the event: "ANIMATION & SEQUENTIAL ARTOBER." Students created prompts of their own such as Wings, Trap, Eyes, Falling, Ice Scream, and more! Students even had weekend prompts to complete. Over the month all students improved greatly in their line art, shading methods, compositions, and understanding of contrast.
The class also dove deep into learning the methods of traditional figure drawing, and capped the month off by participating in our annual Multi-Day Figure Drawing Workshop. This workshop is a tradition three years in the making collaboratively created and executed by our teachers Alex Goldin, Matt Bozik, and Emily Steffen. Even though the workshop was virtual this year, it still utilized live models and brought Drawing & Painting and Animation & Sequential Arts students through "Figure Drawing Boot-camp."
October has been crammed full of information, and students are hitting it out of the park! Appropriate for the season, we’ve been learning about what makes a song sound “spooky”. Every student transcribed a song in a major key, and used our knowledge of our three minor scales to put the song in it’s parallel minor! It was awesome to hear each other’s work in class. We also did our first 4 part compositions; writing music with a Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass line. After working in groups to write our choral compositions, we made our own AUDIO RECORDING of each song, featuring the 2020 AP Music Theory Choir! The final result was amazing! Can’t wait to try a more advanced version in November!
This month we worked on setting the table, learning about mise en place and our culinary students learned how to set themselves up for success in the kitchen. We also focused on a variety of careers in culinary arts. Just as the quarter ended, we also started delving into recipe reading... and we tested out some chocolate chip cookie making! After almost one full quarter of not cooking, we are so close, we can basically taste it! Next week, we will be combining forces with Green City Market and getting started on our showcase work!
Modern Rock Band
We started the month of October by going over some theory concepts such as melody and intervals. The students really enjoyed working on the intervals part of these lectures and they even asked us if we could do extra interval practice. In the latter part of this month we really focused on practicing our parts for the recording that we are putting together. Right now, we are assembling a virtual recording of ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ by Jet. This is a really fun song that the students loved to sing and play! While the students were working on learning this song, we did numerous workshops with them on how to practice, how to sing with proper technique as well as how to use recording equipment. Our project so far sounds really good! We can’t wait to share it with everyone once it’s ready!
Creative Arts & Ceramics
This month in photography has been super creatively active, when we assigned the creative self portrait assignment it gave the students an opportunity to explore to create innovative portraits as them as the subject. Yet again our students took this project in completely different ways and surprised us with the many conceptual and personal themes that they wanted to explore. Though some students were hesitant at first and didn't know how to feel about the project, after reassurance from us to really express themselves however they want. They really took to this photo assignment and by the results that we have seen in critique, they had a lot of fun doing it. The themes that they explored Halloween (creepy/scary), displacement, and lost. So many different topics they covered in this one assignment it was so much fun to see the rest of the class unpack their peers' work and give the feedback to continue their artistic journey.
Drawing & Painting
Students worked on a series of self portraits! We began, as a class, by drawing a bunch blind contour drawings. When the students were warmed up, we had them do a pair of portraits- The first, done as proportionally correct and as representational as possible. The second, to be done expressively, in the style and medium of their choosing. Here, for example is the work of student Victoria Mak.
From there, the students critiqued each other's work. The portraits were viewed in pairs, comparing the representation work to the stylized work. It was amazing to see the difference in each, and the range of styles brought to this program by our students!
In a virtual classroom where learning under quarantine is becoming the norm, AAP dancers have learned to study and celebrate dance as an art form by taking advantage of the world of dance around them. Connecting the dance idioms of Spanish, Musical Theatre, Latin Jazz, Ballet and Modern has widened their perspectives and their opportunities.
This month, dance students attended a master class sponsored by AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts (NY/LA). Nationally acclaimed performer, Chryssie Whitehead-Disbrow, created the master class for our dancers and taught them original choreography from, “A Chorus Line”, where Whitehead-Disbrow had played Cassie on Broadway.
Right after she graduated from high school, Whitehead-Disbrow was hired as a dancer with Radio City Rockettes, in New York City. With a career spanning over 20 years working in both Los Angeles and New York, she acted in over 13 television shows (Grey’s Anatomy, etc.) and films. Most notably she was known for a sweet romantic comedy with Raven Simone, “Revenge of the Bridesmaids”, and made Broadway debut in the revival of, “A CHORUS LINE.” Theatre roles include: Lola in DAMN YANKEES, Cassie in A CHORUS LINE, Kathy in COMPANY, and Bombalurina, in CATS.
Chryssie leads a creative, artistic life teaching across the globe and presently online, with her performing arts educational company, www.BroadwayArtsCommunity.com, which she co-founded with her best friend, Alexis Carra. She has directed and/or choreographed productions of CHICAGO, INTO THE WOODS, SHREK, GREASE and BEAUTY & THE BEAST. You can see her acting on the big screen next Christmas, in a small role in Steven Spielberg’s remake of, “WEST SIDE STORY!”
The next master class was given by University of Illinois’ professor Anna Sapozhnikov. She taught students theatrical choreography from the musical, “Chicago.” Sapozhnikov is a teacher, choreographer and performer with roots based in the Chicago. Students asked pertinent questions about university life, hybrid learning and expectations.
The master class assisted the dance students, who are currently working on their technique, artistry, and musicality, while celebrating their individual choreographic voices in preparation for this year’s AAP Winter Showcase. Aside from physically demanding virtual rehearsals and learning choreography, students are keeping a positive attitude and looking forward to this year’s virtual premiere.
This month the students are learning how to tell a story and how to get to the emotional center of the story. Students wrote a personal story that had meaning for them and then they interviewed each other using that story as a jumping off point for that story. They are now learning how to edit those stories using photos and other related objects to fully realize the theme and the meaning behind the stories. Students are also learning how to improve their critiquing skills by watching clips and talking about why they are meaningful for them.
We started our Art & Activism unit by connecting our conversations about what we learned from listening to A Raisin in the Sun and life and career of Lorraine Hansberry. Each ensemble member has also chosen a monologue from A Raisin in the Sun to add to our repertoire. Check out some shots from us performing our monologues below. Since so much of our world is still very virtual, we also spent time practicing how to slate for an audition/perform our monologues “on camera.” We’re learning how to shift our visual focus and dive into our given circumstances. As we know the change of season is happening, each ensemble member also shared a song that brings them joy and explained what qualities in each song contributed to lifting our spirits. We were fortunate enough to watch the Goodman Theatre’s production of Death of Salesman by Arther Miller. UP NEXT: Animal Farm by George Orwell and Intro to Playwriting!
Come back next MONTH for more updates from our Advanced Arts Classrooms!
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!