Diversity through an Artistic Lens was the focus of Upper School Seminar Day on February 27, a powerful program organized by students in the UNITiD Club.
Band, chorus, dance, and orchestra members started the learning with performances of music with roots in Cuba, Zimbabwe, and American jazz. Upper School students in Johnson Theater then watched videos with original compositions by Teens With A Purpose, a Norfolk-based organization that uses literacy and poetry to promote community and empower young people. Leaders of the group asked NA students an overarching question: “What is your mighty dream?" A few students bravely shared their thoughts on the Johnson Theater stage, saying they'd like to make a difference for others and alleviate healthcare and educational inequalities.
Clayton Singleton, an award-winning artist and teacher in Norfolk Public Schools whose work appeared last year in the Perrel Art Gallery, closed the seminar by presenting several of his pieces, centered around the message that there is more that makes us similar than makes us different.
“You are sewn together with experience and love!" he said.
Engaging his audience by walking around the entire theater and even joining students in the seats, Mr. Singleton offer other valuable messages: “Go after your dreams, because you are worth the work!" and “if you are alive, you are a love."
In advisory groups, students worked together to create their own “tableaux vivant" or “living picture," images of artistic masterpieces. Winners of the best images will be announced at a later date.
UNITiD Club members urged students to carry the messages they learned on Seminar Day with them into the future.
“We are looking for long-term changes," senior Antonia Baudoin said. “Today is meant to start conversations."