“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
At Morgan Park Academy, we believe that all students possess the creativity and discipline needed to be an artist, whether it’s through painting and sketching, playing a musical instrument or presenting a dramatic piece on stage. The Academy art programs give all budding artists, from beginners to experienced, the chance to hone their skills, discover their artistic passion, and work together to create masterpieces.
The skills students gain in the arts are used as a cross-curricular tool in many classes, through the study of patterns, sound, movement and practice. Art, music and drama are an integral part of the curriculum from preschool to Grade 12, and many of our alumni have gone on to study the arts at exceptional universities. In keeping with Picasso’s vision, the Academy supports a child’s development of artistic expression, and encourages students to be lifelong supporters of the arts.
In the Lower School, art is a cross-curricular tool that helps develop problem-solving skills and pattern recognition. Middle School art encourages freedom of expression as students explore the social role of art through various projects and situations. In the Upper School, art continues as a valuable tool and skill set that can be used across the curriculum.
For example, Studio Workshop students visited the Art Institute’s Ryerson Library Facsimile Sketchbook Collection. After several hours of guided study of the sketchbooks of master artists from ages past and present, students were treated to a talk by special collections librarians about how curators use the Ryerson Library to create exhibits. The trip was a culminating project for students who were completing a year-long study of how artists use sketchbooks. Once the students returned, they made their own works from the year into a hand-made display book of their own construction.
Drama & Performing Arts
Annual performances at each grade level provide wonderful opportunities for children to develop communication and leadership skills, to build self-confidence, and to encourage creative self-expression.
Artistic expression is encouraged in the Middle and Upper Schools through major drama productions and the drama club. In dramatic and musical productions, students have the opportunity to act or work behind the scenes, taking great pride in their accomplishments and in the satisfaction of performing in front of an audience.
As in other curricular areas, the music program is experiential. At its basis is the Orff-Schulwerk process, which philosophically parallels language development. Students learn by hearing and making music first, then by reading and writing it later.
General music and chorus in the Upper and Middle Schools emphasize higher-level thinking skills, learning the elements of music, and the manipulation of these elements into student-created musical experiences. Middle and Upper School Bands and Middle and Upper School Chorus are further opportunities for performance that instill confidence, self-discipline, and courage as well as improved musicianship.