When Triton Central joined the network in 2009, we set one steadfast marker; we demanded that we maintain our arts programs. Both of the sophomore team class additions are fully integrated arts classes. GeoIED maintains an arts edge by incorporating design elements from Project Lead the Way paired with conventional Geometry. Projects include everything from 2D digital design to 3D art using the Adobe Suite package and a program called Inventor.
The most integrated arts class on campus, though, is TCHS’s LitMus class. LitMus stands for “Literature + Musicology”. Musicology is a combination of Music Theory/Composition and Music History. With all sophomores now required to pass Indiana’s End of Course Assessment (ECA) at the end of their sophomore year, Litmus has become the true litmus test for students.
LitMus integrates arts through looking at all of the facets of art. The composer Richard Wagner referred to this as “gesamkunstwerk” or “Total Artwork”. Students use tableaux, poetry, prose, music, and visual art to project their ideas, feelings, and thoughts on a regular basis. LitMus demands higher order thinking and synthesis by asking students to rethink what they are doing in an artistic and divergent way.
An example of this quadrant D work is when Litmus facilitators Sarah Papin-Thomas and Nate Foley hooked up with Indiana Repertory Theater to do Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The students read the play, analyzed it, and then went to see it at IRT. During the analysis, the IRT sent teaching artist Beverly Roche out to facilitate and discuss story elements as well as playwright and technical work. Theatrical Consultant Tina Mahr came from California to help students in workshops focused on directing plays. Then the students were asked to create their own modern retelling of the play complete with lighting, sound (meaning they scored their own soundtracks and effects), costumes, props, and sets. Again, the IRT teaching artist returned and helped students direct their plays. The productions were put on for the public in the school auditorium. The project was considered quite a success and garnered local attention.
Some of that attention came from Clowes’ Memorial Hall at Butler University. A partnership was forged modeled after the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.’s CETA program (Changing Education Through the Arts). That connection led to an Indiana Arts Commission Grant to work with Clowes on a project based on REVOLUTION. Teaching Artist Len Mozzi was funded through the grant and came out to lead the students in using media to persuade and making cinematographic choices. The students are currently working on finishing those projects which will culminate in a film festival on Friday, April 20th. The remaining films will be entered to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts “What’s Going On Now” project.
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