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The Suburbanite
  • Jackson High talent goes beyond the classroom

  • More than 50 students in the freshman art foundation class at the Jackson School for the Arts gathered recently to share their knowledge of art.

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  • More than 50 students in the freshman art foundation class at the Jackson School for the Arts gathered recently to share their knowledge of art.
    An event held at First Row Centre for the Arts in Greentown offered students a chance to choose an artist and display their interpretation of that artist, whether through music or art. No art or music teachers were involved in preparing or guiding students in their presentations.
    “We have done this for maybe seven years now, and this is the first time we have been able to do in it in just one day and in a gallery,” said Kathryn Stone, a history teacher at Jackson.
    Stone said that in when the presentation was done at the school in the past, it took several days.  
    Students could choose any type of artist to complement this year’s school theme: “Unmask your creativity.”
    “We had students chose Beethoven, Monet, Rafael, Seurat ... there was just a myriad of options,” Stone said.
    Participant Carlie Slates presented the artist Alphonse Mucha. Stone said Mucha was an art nuevo artist that was seen at the turn of the century whose work was that of beautiful women with small waists.
    Her interpretation of him was a self portrait of all the things she wanted to have happen for her.
    “It was a look into her mind,” Stone said.
    Slates said that presenting was an amazing opportunity.
    “From the professionalism all the art students presented to the clarity of their presentations, we really gave it our all,” Slates said. “Many students went above and beyond and surprised me as well. You never know how much talent some kids hide until you are given the freedom to show yourself to the world.”
    Student Mackenzie Fox presented her take on Edgar Allen Poe's works and life.
    "The art gallery was an amazing experience,” she said. “I loved sharing my knowledge about Edgar Allan Poe with other people who share my passion for art and literature.”
    The creative students spent two months working on their interpretation projects.
    "This project took a lot of work,” said student Andrew Brathwaite, whose project was about Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi.
    Brathwaite said he stayed up at night making sure everything was perfect.
    “Although there was immense pressure on us, the experience of the First Row Centre for the Arts made the presentation worthwhile,” he said. “The acoustics of the room made it great for performance.”
    The First Row Centre for the Arts has been open for two years and is owned by George and Eleni Manos. The business was originally known as Greentown Gallery.
    “This event perfectly demonstrated our mission statement: ‘Each one teach one,’” Eleni said.
    Page 2 of 2 - She said it was an amazing undertaking between the students and faculty.
    “There was extraordinary support by the students’ parents,” she said. “It was wonderful for us to have the chance to meet and interact.”
    The Manos’ daughter, Anna, is a freshman at the Jackson School for the Arts.
    “The Manos’ were so welcoming to the students. They did everything in the world to help our kids feel comfortable in the environment. It was wonderful,” Stone said. “These students are used to creating a piece of art, and here they had the experience of presenting their information to an audience.”
    Stone said the assignment was a different one to ask of a student.
    “It challenges them; it makes them more mature in how they present themselves,” Stone said. “They were all so very successful at it, and it really inspired them knowing they could do more.”
    The Jackson High School for the Arts has about 200 students and is a four-year program that includes theater, music, dance, vocal and instrumental music and visual art.
    The First Row Centre for the Arts offers students and adults a chance to perform at open mic night every Thursday evening.