- Colleen Tanona ’22 and Audrey Basta ’23
Whether it be sports, fine arts, or clubs, SHP has robust programs outside of its academic curriculum that make up much of how it defines itself as an institution. Ms. Lauren Benjamin, the Head of the Fine Arts Department, was happy to explain what she sees as the future of the department as well as how she views the arts as a necessary creative outlet for students.
As Head of the Fine Arts Department, Ms. Benjamin has the responsibility of ensuring that Fine Arts is a space where students can express their passions and interests. As a well rounded artist with a degree in visual arts, she is thrilled to have this new responsibility and feels confident in her experience since she has taught many different fine art oriented classes ranging from visual art to musical theatre. She feels that it’s “really nice to be at work and contribute to the school in a way that… fits her”. As a teacher and leader of the Fine Arts Department, Ms. Benjamin has some ideas of how she wants to improve the department for the future. One of her top priorities is to work on integrating the Fine Arts Department with other classes. The Fine Arts team is “making an active push towards collaborating in [their] curriculum and also collaborating with other classroom teachers.”
She believes that more creative based projects in core classes would be extremely beneficial to the learning of the students. The new Campbell building provides an amazing space for students to explore their passions with a blend of core and arts related classrooms right next to each other, sometimes sharing the same spaces in dynamic ways. The Fine Arts Department is always looking for how it can open itself up to more students. There are many different ways that a person could get involved in the arts, ranging from photography and art to music and theater.
However, many students “don’t know what opportunities exist for them,’’ explains Ms. Benjamin. Even though it is a graduation requirement and some students may think they are not interested, Ms. Benjamin recommends truly delving into the artistic world with an open mind and heart. Considering the academic rigor of SHP, many students feel that they don’t have time to explore the arts. Ms. Benjamin, on the other hand, says that “you can excel in the arts just as much as you can in any other subject.’’ She feels like it is completely possible for students to balance their academic interests with creative outlets through the variety of mediums offered.
The arts program is a great way to get involved with the school, explore student interests, and get involved with amazing teachers and mentors. For the remainder of the year, SHP students are encouraged to use the increasing amount of artistic programs on campus to explore what interests them to discover new passions that they would have never known about otherwise.