When I was little, the world truly was my stage. I danced and sang my way through the halls of my house, school, and church. I loved to make people laugh and I loved entertaining a crowd. As I grew up and became more aware of how God made me, I better understood the deep roots of the desires I had as a fun-loving 8-year-old girl. It is not chance that children to sing, dance and imitate before they are taught to do so. It is part of being human. We get to be like The Creator God in this way.
Creativity in young minds is precious. It needs to be cultivated and grown with intention. It needs to be redirected at certain times and focused in at other times. At The Academy, our Fine Arts Program works to strengthen the characters of our students, reminding them that their abilities, desires and aspirations belong to a Holy God, The Creator himself. Our goal is to immerse them in The Fine Arts and allow God to speak to them through music, art, drama and dance. What is amazing is that He does just that! He shows up for your students in our classrooms, at our performances and at other events to show Himself in a new way! We want our students to learn the discipline, patience, and collaboration necessary to excel in The Fine Arts so that they might be richly blessed by God with the beauty He will reveal to them.
Aristotle said, “Through self-discipline comes freedom”. Our Fine Arts program teaches our students discipline in the nature of our lessons, objectives and productions so that they can experience freedom in their art. For example, our actors at the dialectic and rhetoric level often have to attend long rehearsals where, as all theatre artists know, there is a lot of sitting and waiting. They are also required to memorize their lines. Some of them will have large roles that require hours upon hours at home studying their lines. Our Drama students must be disciplined in order to act onstage from a place of peace, confidence and freedom. If they do not exhibit these disciplines and still try to enter into their role, they sell themselves short of the full experience of freely expressing their creativity with God because stress, worry and anxiety impede on the goodness their art is meant to bring to them and others.
Our program also teaches our students patience. Our visual art classes follow the classical art model where the students must learn the seven elements of art carefully and in certain order. The students must understand line and form for example before they explore freely with color and texture. Visual Art students at The Academy understand that mastery in art is a marathon, not a short sprint. We are setting up our artists to begin on what we hope will be a lifelong exploration of their creativity with God. And it starts from a place of patience.
Our Fine Arts classes and program also prioritize collaboration. This is most evident in our Dialectic and Rhetoric choirs. In our dialectic choirs, we see 6th, 7th, and 8th grade boys and girls– some interested in singing and others not so interested- bringing their raw God given voice and offering it with vulnerability to their peers. They sing in parts and see the beauty in creating harmonies. At the rhetorical level, we get to hone in their skills and elevate their sound as collaboration as a choir becomes even more essential. Even in our brand-new dance class, students are learning to bring their part to the table while being dependent on others to do the same.
At The Academy, the goals of discipline, patience and collaboration are rooted in something deeper than merely producing a strong performance. These virtues are in place to guide our students toward the True, the Good and the Beautiful that God has for them in the Fine Arts. What a joy to be a part of guiding and growing students’ affections for God through singing, painting, dancing, and imitating.