How Karla Matheny unlocks her students' creative potential
Students take visual art, drama and music in every grade, learning to express themselves creatively—as individuals and in ensembles—while gaining an understanding of the beauty and range of the human experience. Under the guidance of expert faculty, students draw inspiration for their own creations by studying the works of great artists, playwrights and composers. Many Foote alumni have gone on to fulfilling careers in the arts as actors, illustrators, jazz musicians and composers.
Art classes strive to cultivate a lifelong appreciation for art in students by teaching them to create works that express who they are. An inviting classroom environment sparks students' imagination through hands-on lessons that build confidence and hone artistic techniques. Students create with paint, plaster, clay, cray-pas and so many other materials, while drawing inspiration from the masters of art history. Many projects are designed to complement the curriculum in science, literature and social studies, helping students form deeper connections to themes and subjects.
Foote's drama program develops creativity and collaboration skills by giving students opportunities to improvise and act on stage, write plays, and to run the lights, soundboard and other technical aspects of plays in our black box theater. Lower School students make discoveries about themselves and others through theater games and focused exercises, and learn acting methods that reveal the emotional power of theater. Middle School classes focus on improvisation, playwriting and dramatic literature. Seventh and eighth graders can elect to participate in a full-length theater production drawn from the canon of American theater. Ninth graders stage their own full-length play, with every student participating either on-stage or behind the scenes.
In music classes, children experience the pleasure of singing and dancing by participating in active music-making experiences. Lower School Music is based on the Kodaly Concept, a comprehensive, sequential, experience-based program used to develop basic musical skills and teach the reading and writing of music. From lullabies and folk songs to dances and works of master composers, children acquire a broad-based musical repertoire built on a foundation of joyful music-making. In Middle School, students deepen their musical literacy and learn to play a range of instruments: hand bells, steel pans, world drums and Orff instruments, among many others. Ensembles, including Orchestra, Chorus and Jazz-Rock, let students explore musical passions in a group setting.
Fourth graders made Pointillist paintings inspired by the French impressionist Georges Seurat, learning to mix color and to render animals.