In an academically challenging girls school, the freedom to experience and create without fear of failure – or imperfection – is a hard lesson to teach. The environment encourages success, but success is often best learned through trial and error. Creativity relies on evolving rather than solving. Artist Robert Rauschenberg said it best, “Being correct is never the point. Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.”
The upper school Art Club sponsors an Afternoon of Arts Workshops each spring creating an atmosphere to experience rather than succeed. The girls are encouraged to try something new. Through fund-raising and patron support, the club invites about 14 different artists who lead 55-minute hands-on workshops. Past workshops have featured artistic offerings including different forms of drawing, painting and collage. Others have included calligraphy, origami, cartooning, photography, ceramic painting, Fimo clay beads, papermaking, sculpture from found objects, simple printing processes, a variety of bookmaking methods, simple hand sewing, encaustic, wire jewelry, repoussé and even mosaic panels that now hang in the halls. Artistic and non-artistic students have the opportunity to experience processes and ideas without focusing on the end result.
There are also theatrical and musical offerings including improvisation, clowning, stage-combat, a variety of drumming and singing workshops and even stage make-up and simple costume design.
Dance offerings include Salsa, Swing, African, Indian, Hip Hop, Scottish, Egyptian, Belly, Flamenco, Greek Dance and even Hoop Dancing.
Yoga is always a favorite.
Over the years some artists have become regulars because they enjoy working with students who want to experience the creative process. Some workshops are more successful than others – it’s not easy to find artists who can teach and work in a short time frame, but it provides the opportunity to create freely without grades or evaluation.