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Celebrate All-City Fine Arts Week Virtually

All-City Fine Arts Week graphic

Although the event looks very different this year, we are so excited to kick off this year’s All-City Fine Arts Week. The combination of hard work from teachers, coordinators, administrative staff and local clinicians culminated in six unique virtual events throughout the school year. The events were conducted as virtual workshops, allowing students and teachers to Zoom with artists, musicians and actors from around the country.

Here’s what to expect during the All-City Virtual Fine Arts Week:

  • Elementary Music - In January, fourth grade students spent time in a bucket drumming workshop led by musicians from the Northern Illinois University music department. Both students and teachers had a fun, educational and unique experience.
  • Elementary Art - All fifth grade art students participated in a workshop led by local artists and RPS 205 art teachers Jason Judd and Iga Puchalska from New Genres Art Space. During a three-part interactive workshop in January and February, the students learned how to create stop-motion flipbooks.
  • Band & Orchestra - On March 16, select high school band and orchestra students will spend their time in a master class with composer Kathryn Salfelder.
  • Choir - In January, select high school choir students participated in a master class led by musician and composer Jake Runestad, a 2018 Fine Arts Hall of Fame inductee and Guilford High School alumnus. Runestad selected one of his pieces for the students to prepare, and they spent the virtual workshop perfecting the piece. The students submitted a recording of their part, resulting in a culminating performance video.
  • Theatre - In the fall, select theatre students had the opportunity to attend three different workshops led by clinicians Eli Pauley, Dorian Brown Pham and Jeremy Cohenour. The topics they covered included college audition techniques, animation voice overs, and tips to get noticed as a performer.
  • Art & Graphic Art - High school art workshops were led by local artists Pablo Korona and Betsy Youngquist. On Jan. 27, students spent time in a three-hour workshop either working on large acrylic paintings with Korona or beading spoons with Youngquist.

Hosting virtual workshops allowed for more students across the district to participate. Both teachers and students had a great time learning and participating in these unique workshops.

Here’s what some RPS 205 fine arts teachers shared about their experiences:

The virtual RPS 205 All-City Theatre Workshop series this year was so successful and so fun. Our seniors were the benefactors of being coached for collegiate theatre auditions by an NYC-based equity acting professional. Our guest clinicians could be from anywhere because we could host the event online. We’re so lucky to include a few SAG-AFTRA actors who reside in Hollywood. It was refreshing to have some new topics to get excited about and learn from, including casting and voiceovers!

Melissa Wolf, theatre teacher at Guilford High School

This year, we had guest teacher Raelyn Erwin from NIU put out a video that was shown to all classes. The students learned some rhythms on bucket drums that went along with the martial arts form called Capoeira. Each school was provided bucket drums and PVC sticks that Montessori music teacher Jen Loomis donated. Remote students at Montessori and a few other schools were also able to be included in this process. Many of them came up with their own type of drum and sticks to use at home. This was a great alternative to our traditional festival and many more students were included than what typically would be. The students enjoyed learning rhythms and were very successful at performing them as an ensemble. This was a great way to celebrate the arts while staying safe and distanced!

Jill Moth, music teacher at Maria Montessori at Marsh

Thanks to the virtual partnership with RPS 205 art teacher and local animator Iga Puchalska, students are creating their very own flipbook animations inspired by the surreal and dreamlike artwork of Joan Miro. Traditionally static drawings are coming to life as they move, morph, and interact with one another on the once blank pages of student flipbooks. Wonder and imagination are still making waves in art classes, despite how COVID-19 has transformed this school year. Fifth grade art students across RPS 205 have become mesmerized by the magic of flipbook animations.

Heather Schlueter, art teacher at Two-Way Language Immersion at Barbour

The All-City Virtual Fine Arts Week closes with the Hall of Fame awards virtual ceremony. The annual awards program recognizes former Rockford Public Schools fine arts students and educators, and serves as a fundraiser for the Rockford Fine Arts Coalition. 

Jessica Poulisse bio photo

Jessica Poulisse

Jessica Poulisse is the Fine Arts Support Specialist for RPS 205. She graduated from North Park University with her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art, and is a 2015 East High School graduate.

  • Beyond the Classroom
  • The Arts