What many will find is that the arts are highly undervalued because, despite their significance, they have yet to receive the proper recognition. We as a society do not acknowledge that participating in one of the many arts can be as competitive as a sport, as important as a core class, and as valuable as any other academic experience. CdM offers several arts programs varying from theater to media which showcase incredible talent.
This past semester, the Art 1 and 2 classes had been working on developing foundation skills in drawing and the ability to take an idea and turn it into art, while Art 3 and AP Art have focused on taking these skills a step further when developing more detailed pieces and prints. The variety of art students are creating, CdM Middle School teacher Vikky Schwarz says is being taught to implement art “in a variety of mediums, so they can successfully express themselves in whatever art [form] they choose”. Chris Zeibarth, the media arts teacher on campus expresses how he “[wants] to give every student a very loud megaphone with which to express their ideas”, validating the need to create art in different forms. This challenge, however, is beneficial. Jenny Ricks, one of CdM’s art teachers says that “creating…it takes time and is hard but so rewarding.” She explains that afterward “yes, [they] end up with a finished work but the creative process involved in getting there is what [she wants her] students to remember how to do” beyond the conclusion of the lesson. Art history teacher Vanessa Valdes says the goal is so that “they can see more than just the facade, they can look past it” and see the process of its creation and what it means.
As for drama, Elise Ybarra, CdM’s middle and high school drama teacher, expresses that she and the drama department are thrilled that their production of Macbeth placed 2nd at CETA (The California Educational Theater Association). After closing their first production of this semester, Big Fish, the Drama 4 students will be preparing to bring Something Rotten, the spring musical, into fruition. They are also getting ready to take part in Fullerton Fest this coming March as well as an upcoming trip to New York City. According to Ybarra, her students are coming into the second semester “excited about where the drama department is going because they have seen the results of their hard work” which is creating “a lot more comradery and momentum.” There continual achievements display Ybarra’s belief that “when [they] come together as a community [they] can do really great things but it is only when [they] align [their] forces together and trust each other” that their universal success comes.
Andrew Ball, who teaches choir, says that the mantra by which he is maneuvering through this semester is “everything is happening until it’s not”. Despite “a lot of the first semester was just rebuilding some of the fundamental skills that [they] lost” these past 2 years, their winter concert, which featured their adaptation of Elf, was a success made possible by passionate and dedicated students. In two weeks choir will also be holding its annual fundraiser. The silent auction will feature one song from each ensemble and several soloists. In March they will be heading to Disneyland and each ensemble will be as participating in a festival. Finally, madrigal singers have been given the opportunity to tour Spain at the end of June and July of 2022. Ball says that being a part of choir “enriches [one’s] ability to socialize with people it teaches [them] those sort of intangible skills” but it also serves to make students “feel like [they] are contributing to something that is bigger than [themselves]” because while “singing is something that is incredibly vulnerable… it’s how [people] express [themselves]”.
Art comes in many forms whether it is auditory or interpreted visually however, they all have value in what they offer to the creator and their audience because, despite its form, it is all “a reflection of people’s lives… a refection of human experience and it’s how people relate to each other” says Valdes. Art is a form of expression that can serve as “a really great catalyst for doing something that [people] are scared to do which is connected and to understand and to trust” says Ybarra, so students ability to overcome that and put themselves into their art is commendable.
CdM’s featured arts have shown immense growth and perseverance throughout this first semester and their prospects for 2nd semester are promising. For those who are not yet involved with CdM’s numerous programs Ball would like to emphasize that “the arts are for everybody… [it] is a community that [anyone] could belong to and that [he] would love to see them join” whether that be coming out to support CdM’s talented artist or being apart of one of the departments.