Spring Arts Festival 2013: Creativity Beyond What Hangs on the Wall

Not only does Susan Gottlieb think it’s high time some well-kept secrets got well-outed, but the Upper School visual art teacher plans to make a whole big production about it. The 2013 Spring Arts Festival might appear to the casual observer as simply another exhibition of the high creative standard Country Day students have set, but, as Gottlieb explained, this display has a special significance.

“This is a nice showcase for seniors because many of them have been involved in the arts for years and often people don’t know that,” said Gottlieb. “People see students on the lacrosse or soccer field and know that about them, but they don’t know that they’re also involved in the visual arts. It’s often a surprise to the community to look at a work, read the name and go, ‘Oh, really?’ It shows the holistic education that we have here.”


Senior Jillian M. took on the festival as her senior project because she’s spent a good deal of her four Upper School years in one studio classroom or another, and she wanted to up the stakes of the show by infusing it with some entrepreneurial vim.

“I wanted to help further the arts by creating an art sale along with the show,” Jillian said. While a few students might have sold a piece or two in the past, this year Jillian has recruited a half-dozen artists with multiple works apiece all looking for a patron. The going rate for creative expression is $25, with $15 going to the artist and $10 going to the Project Arts booster club.

Jillian’s balancing of the practical and the romantic exemplifies the rich side-benefits of pursuing studio art, Gottlieb said. “Art requires visual problem solving and a different approach to the problem itself. For any given problem in art, there are almost always multiple solutions. And it takes a different kind of thinking process to reach those answers but it’s essential that a balanced person be able to switch modes like that.

“The arts festival shows the variety of visual arts at the school,” Gottlieb continued, “but those finished pieces also put the variety of students’ problem-solving skills on display too.”

The studio art exhibition was just one part of the evening, however. The Middle and Upper School Spring Choral Concert also took place Wednesday night. Dance teacher Kim Jureckson directed the Middle School performance while chorus teacher Heather Woodbridge directed the Upper School. Numbers ranged from student-choreographed tango, courtesy of Tori B. ’17, to choral potpourri from the musical “Wicked,” featuring solos by Madeline S. ’13 and Emily C. ’15.