| Our Elementary Fine Arts Program began a new project this year. It was our first full Kindergarten play at Booker T. Washington Elementary. Ms. Reyes and Ms. Stroud worked diligently with their students on the lines for a month and made some pretty over-the-top props in their spare time. Our program hired a local professional actor, Juston Harlin, to help direct the 30 minute Core Knowledge Play and put all the pieces together. The first three days were spent blocking and practicing the lines for the participating students. The last two days involved marching four different groups of kindergarteners up the stairs of the Booker T. Washington’s second floor stage. Then the group would act their scene out on stage. Lastly, they would march quietly back down the stairs to Ms. Reyes classroom (the backstage) - where the students were working on a quiet activity. It was a great first kindergarten play, but like any artist the Monday after the play was spent in a meeting about taking the concept to the next level until we master the art of the Kindergarten play.
The following week, the fifth and sixth grade students went to a presentation at Tydings Auditorium put on by the Southwest Symphony with the group called “Cirque Montage.” Like true master tacticians of the theatre a few of the actors worked the crowd while the students were being seated. Then there was the performance complete with music, spinning hoops, acrobatics and a one act play by a few students from the audience. Some teachers commented that the event was “memorizing” and “I am glad my students saw this because they have tried similar tricks on their own and can appreciate how hard it is.” And thus continues the time honored academic discipline of an apprentice observing the master.
Why bring professional artists in to work with and perform for the students? It is a best practice that has it roots in ancient Greece and was refined by the Renaissance. I thought I was talented when I was in college on an art scholarship. I could draw circles around many people I knew in my little corner of the world. Then I went to Italy. I saw the paintings and sculptures of the renaissance, and heard the stories of about a young Michelangelo staying up for days on end working on sculptures until the image he wanted came out of the stone. I learned that mastery of a subject takes time. It takes respect for the discipline. It also takes a little humility to understand the world is a big place and just when you think you are at the peak of your talent, you find a master artist to show you just how much you have left to learn. I came back from Europe and shelved my old portfolio and started a new, knowing that talent alone will only get you so far. It is the willingness to practice over and over until you perfect your craft, much like the Booker T. Washington kindergarteners just learning to act or the Cirque Montage performers that have practiced their skills for decades. Practice makes perfect. This is the legacy of the arts.
If you have any questions about the Elementary Fine Arts Program you can e-mail
email@example.com. Thank you for your interest in the arts.
Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator
Hobbs Municipal Schools