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Expanded Arts Department Classrooms Allow Expanded Artistic Opportunities

By Marrie Stone
“For anyone to grow up complete, art is imperative.”
—Paul Harvey

Perhaps nowhere else on campus will our curriculum benefit more from our remodel than the significant expansion of the Arts Department. By acquiring a new dance room with its spring floor, a black box theater, an enormous instrumental music room and a visual arts classroom, teachers will be able to take their classes in vast new directions.

“Until this year, St. Mary’s outstanding collection of teachers in its Arts Department were constricted by very modest physical circumstances,” says Zulanas. “We’ve never had a dance studio or black box theater. We’ve never had an orchestra room. The arts classrooms used to be disconnected from each other.” The new feeling will be one of synergy and possibility. For example, Grade 1 students learn the waltz. But until this year, they’ve done it in cramped and mirrorless spaces. “Now they can see how they’re dancing and what they look like,” says Zulanas. The open space, the spring floor, the mirrored walls will give students a sense of purpose and pride.
“When students are given beautiful and highly technical spaces to work in, they elevate their performance,” says Linaweaver. “The kids do a better job on stage. It increases their excitement when they’re in a new space.” When students see their work displayed in beautiful spaces, or their acting elevated on a sophisticated stage, the energy is palpable
St. Mary’s will retain its entire Arts Department faculty, with Galarpe serving as Director of the Arts Department. Students will enjoy seven different performing arts options including dance, theater, chorus, string ensemble, wind ensemble, jazz and guitar.
Middle School students can choose to study Visual Arts or Studio Art. Studio Art integrates technology through different mediums. “It’s a matter of offering students choices,” says Zulanas. “These new spaces allow us to significantly expand the choices within the Visual Arts subject area.” By giving students access to spaces, tools, technology and the room to collaborate in utilizing them, the opportunities for creativity and self-expression explode. We’ve built it. Now we can’t wait to see what our students are able to accomplish.