Published : Wednesday, April 19, 2017 | 6:07 PM
Students at Charles W. Eliot Arts Magnet Academy are gearing up to take the stage at the school’s 4th Annual Springs Arts Showcase, Metamorphosis, to dazzle audiences with their talents in song, dance and visual arts at the middle school that intends create to world’s next generation of leading visual and performance artists.
The public is invited to see first the role art plays in the lives of young students and will include a special appearance from L.A. based artist Kent Yoshimura who painted the 3000 sq. ft. mural on campus last month as a way to spark inspiration within students and help serve as a reminder of the beauty art can bring into a community.
“It gives the students something real and tangible that we’re working toward. It is their culminating experience. It’s motivating, engaging and authentic,” said Pasadena Unified School District Magnet Coordinator Shannon Mumolo.
“There’s also an element of community and really sharing with our neighbors what it is that we’re doing,” added Mumolo.
This year’s Metamorphosis event will see a hefty roster of student formed rock bands, dancers, instrumental musicians, and choir performances all under one roof as a part of bi-annual showcase series.
“It’s amazing to have a show about what we do and who we are. Our personalities combine together and it makes something beautiful,” said D’Aura Rodgers, 7th grade student performing in rock band.
Eliot Arts’ teachers connect traditional subjects with real-world experience using an arts-integrated approach.
Rather than teaching core classes in isolation, students learn math, science, social studies, and English through arts-infused demonstrations and performance tasks.
“It gives a great sense of accomplishment and establishment. It also allows kids to do things in their own art form way that they’re actually going to use in real life applications,” said Vocal Music Educator Cassandra Franklin.
As an innovative Arts Magnet school, Eliot offers an array of music, dance, theater arts, and visual arts courses in state-of-the-art facilities such as the new Mac lab and video-recording studio where students learn from professionals from various artistic industries.
“We’ve been able to transform facilities to be able to create these amazing art spaces to help the students hone their skills and explore options. Metamorphosis is simply an extension of that process,” said Mumolo.
Professional partners including The Huntington Library, Light Bringer Project, and Lineage Dance, mentor Eliot teachers and students in the classroom through ongoing artist residencies.
“Our students have been working and our teacher have been learning from professionals in the field,” said Mumolo.
Students also visit a wide variety of art exhibitions and performances on field trips and with their Arts Passport, a new student incentive program to promote participation in community arts.
“Some students are more interested in the arts as a career in the long run and they already know that and they are looking for a school close by in the community that can help them develop those skills,” said Mumolo.
Teachers like Franklin say integrating art education with regular education is a pairing unlike no other.
For example, she says activities like vocal music provides children with confidence early on which helps with communication throughout life.
“Some people may not have ever spoken in front of someone before and when they go to job interviews they’re going to have to put themselves out there on display and present themselves in their best light. If you have been a performer, you are obviously used to an aspect of life that others haven’t experienced yet,” said Franklin.
“[Art] can help them stand out more and have a a little bit of an edge,” Franklin added.
Eighth grader Victoria Atilano who will be performing in the theatre piece “Status Quo” is inspired by her peers.
“Going to an arts school gives us an opportunity to be creative and to stay in an imaginative mindset so we can achieve. It’s a more vibrant environment,” said Atilano.
As for the showcase, Atilano is a piece of creative puzzle.
“It gives you a chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” explained Atilano.
L.A. based multi-media artist, filmmaker, and entrepreneur Kent Yoshimura will join the fun to honor the new 3000 sq. ft. mural he painted on the campus in March with hopes to inspire anyone and everyone who sees his colorful display to pursue art in one way or another.
“If you go an devote yourself into art and dive into a piece and just do that a for a whole year, you’ll see how much you learn about yourself,” said Yoshimura.
As an artist, Yoshimura illustrated Master Davey and The Magic Tea House, which was released worldwide at all Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf locations, and his illustration Lion Lake Lyin’ can be seen alongside artists such as Brian Selznick, Mo Willems, and Ezra Jack Keats traveling across children’s museums.
Most recently, Yoshimura was featured on NBC for his large-scale public art pieces.
In July 2016, Kent painted the largest mural in Shanghai, which spans 1820 sq. ft. over the entirety of three stories.
“I think it’s very unfortunate that the current climate doesn’t see art as a valuable skill when in truth art is beyond just aesthetics. I think every person who is an artist and every person who has studied art truly believes that. A true artist is able to conceptualize, they’re able to problem solve, they’re able to gather the stimuli from the environment around them and translate it into an aesthetic format that people can understand,” said Yoshimura.
Attendees will be treated to a sneak preview of Eliot’s High School Musical Jr., which opens for two nights in May.
Eliot Arts Magnet 4th annual Spring Arts Showcase, Metamorphosis, hits the stage Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on campus at 2184 Lake Ave.
This event is free and open to the public.
For more information visit https://www.pusd.us/Page/45.