As new members of our Chatham County community, Chatham Park is powering our Go See This series this year because art is an integral part of Chatham County’s identity. They join us in inviting you to Go See This . . .
As the saying goes in the theater world, “the show must go on,” even as the global pandemic continues to change the daily lives of students across Chatham County. In the case of this year’s Chatham County Schools’ Winter Arts Festival, the art, music, and dance teachers helped the show continue on this year by publishing it in a completely online format.
The online Arts Festival showcases work from each of the 16 schools in Chatham County. The Arts Festival site has the material broken down into four categories: band, chorus, dance, and visual arts. The visual arts category includes art from students of all ages, including elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.
Using an online format can have its advantages. “The more casual nature of online exhibitions can have a feeling of approachability, communicating that art is for everyone, not just gallery types. Additionally, the accessibility of the digital exhibit means students can readily share with their family and friends, easily showcasing their hard work,” notes Joanna Bolding, Chatham Central High School’s art teacher.
Students have been very excited to have their work represented, and are often surprised to be selected, says Bolding. “Students are proud to be included and sometimes quite surprised! Their understanding of what “good art” looks like is developing, and I often select artworks that do not look like the masterworks they are familiar with. Students often do not think of themselves as artists, especially if they lack confidence in areas they consider fundamental.”
Highlights of the online show include:
- Band: Through YouTube you are able to watch three different students from Margaret Pollard Middle School perform individually, and through the magic of Zoom, you are able to watch the Northwood High School band perform Christmas Carols on Parade
- Dance: In the dance category, you can watch thirteen dancers from Northwood High School perform together beautifully through Zoom.
- Visual arts: All sixteen schools are represented, so there’s art by students from all across the county, organized by school.
- Chorus: You are treated to performances by students from four different schools, including a choreographed performance by the kids of Pittsboro Elementary
All of the students’ work is the result of art, dance, chorus, and band teachers across Chatham County working hard to keep their students engaged remotely and working in earnest to learn how to use the technology that can keep them connected, despite scheduling challenges and uneven access to materials.
“Teaching remotely has not been simple for anyone, and teaching art online is no exception,” says Bolding. “I have mourned the loss of access to teaching with the quality art supplies we are privileged to stock in our studio. I have felt the dearth of the studio’s energy and the fading magic of a dedicated space to make and teach art. But simultaneously, I took more time to teach things that I had longed to incorporate. For example, we completed studies in Bookmaking, Cartooning, and Photography. I am actually thankful to have used this time to rethink and redesign my curriculum and methods. I experimented with more student choice to great success and am now incorporating that freedom into hybrid learning.”
Visit the online Arts Festival today to see the fine work from the art students of Chatham County!