The arts provide a sense of belonging and community; an arena through which a student can express their individuality and creativity. In these trying times, the arts supply a level of comfort and familiarity we are all missing in our lives. Park City School District (PCSD) students from our youngest in preschool through advanced level AP classes in high school are given the opportunity to experience the arts. The pandemic has changed the parameters and structure of our classrooms but not the spirit through which our teachers provide instruction. The Park City School District is dedicated to maintaining this degree of freedom for our students.
The PCSD music and arts teachers focus on building relationships and fortifying our students with life-long techniques that apply to all areas of study. The arts support and aid student expression in the core classrooms.
“We have spent a large amount of time (via solo literature) talking about expression through dynamics and articulation. We have spent a lot of time imaging and talking about musical storytelling. These are conversations and techniques that we will take forward beyond 2020,” said Brett Hughes, Treasure Mountain JHS and Park City High School percussion teacher.
Supporting the arts means supporting a student’s freedom of expression and emotional development. Studies show that children who participate in the arts on a regular basis are better able to control and express their emotions in more productive ways.
“Students are becoming more and more withdrawn. The masks have made it hard to communicate with their friends. Music class is finally a time that they can be heard and hear their friends. We work hard to find those goosebump moments. There is so much fear, anger and uncertainty in the world right now, but good music will always be good music!” said Chris Taylor, Treasure Mountain JHS and Park City High School Jazz teacher.
“Art has always been first and foremost a means of expression. It expresses complicated emotions that do not always fit into words. Kids are experiencing a lot of emotions this year: senses of loss, confusion, fear of the future, etc. Art is both a way of releasing the tension in their soul and providing a means of escape from the stresses of the rest of their day. Fine art classes give students something to look forward to, something to excel at,” commented Christin Abbott, Treasure Mountain JHS and Park City High School Choir teacher.
School district art partnerships support and strengthen the district arts program. Partnership and relationship building translates into integral social interaction.
“Art is needed now more than ever. It allows children to escape into a creative world where they can be expressive and successful. No matter what other learning challenges they face, their designated visual art periods allow them to just enjoy the process and the outcome,” said Stefani Kimche, McPolin Elementary Visual Arts Program teacher (EVA). The EVA arts program is provided by the Park City Education Foundation in partnership with the Kimball Arts Center. Other arts partnerships that work with our school district are the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Dance program and the Egyptian Theater program.
As we leave 2020 behind and look toward 2021, the Park City School District Arts program will continue to lead the way as an example of a world that will feed our soul.
- Anna Stampfli/PCSD Parent Education and Community Engagement Coordinator