Fine and Performing Arts
Fine and Performing Arts at Chatham Hall
Since we are a small school here at Chatham Hall, we are able to carefully tailor the arts courses to the needs of each student. Regardless of your level of experience, you will be challenged to move from your comfort zone and grow more fully as you learn within each course. The small classes at our girls private school allow ample opportunity for individual attention and personal challenges.
The studios here at Chatham Hall are a place to nurture the development of your “voice,” be it on the stage, in song, through an instrument, with dance movements, your eyes or with the best “tools” on earth, your hands. Self-expression is a powerful vehicle to build for your journey through life.
The arts at Chatham Hall serve to help you uncover your voice and prepare you as a strong young woman to tackle life’s challenges. Creativity is a vital, essential skill. One does not need to be an “artist” to benefit from creative problem solving. Consider our girls independent school as your educational home to uncover your creative potential; to grow, find your voice, and step into the world equipped with curiosity, creative outlook, and confidence. Walk on the same paths as Georgia O’Keefe, the painter, did here as a young student. Her beginning attempts at painting were here at Chatham Hall in the company of our caring, and supportive faculty. Perhaps one of you will become the next visual or performing artist of note to include in our long list of accomplished young women who have become part of Chatham Hall’s legacy.
Mrs. S.L.S. Morley, Fine and Performing Arts Department Head
Our visual arts program includes the study and practice of artistic technique, the development of critical-thinking abilities, incorporating the study of art history from the Stone Age to modern times. In our spacious, well-equipped art studio, you’ll be encouraged to find your own path to the understanding and creation of art. We offer courses that explore design, printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and photography. Coursesrange from introductory to advanced placement.
Music is an important part of Chatham Hall where the study of music performance combines with music academics. You can take private lessons in voice, piano, guitar, flute, violin, and cello and will have many opportunities to perform Chapel services, assemblies, and music department concerts. We also have two choral ensembles that perform regularly both on and off campus: St. Mary’s Choir is open to all students without audition, while participation in the Chatham Hall Chamber Choir is by selective audition. You’ll also enjoy field trips to classical music performances, on-campus concerts by guest artists, and music appreciation and theory courses.
Two productions a year are staged in either our Black Box in the Fine Arts Building or in the Van Voorhis (“Dutch”) Lecture hall. For both of these productions, open casting sessions are held. In the fall a play is presented, often a comedy or mystery. In the winter, a musical is the offering. Over a four year period a good mix of theatre experiences is offered with at least one Shakepeare play; a large cast and a smaller cast musical; well known Broadway shows or lesser known community or school developed pieces. On the technical side of the stage, the girls learn by doing. The Black Box rarely stays black, so the girls learn set painting and dressing. Stage management and crew skills, properties creation, makeup and hair, lighting and sound are all learned through tackling the particular demands of each production. The experiences girls mentor the new girls. Imagination, problem solving and cooperation are all used to make sure that the productions run smoothly.
Students in dance receive training in ballet, modern, choreography, and improvisation. Emphasis is placed on building strength, flexibility, coordination, and endurance as a foundation for dance technique. Dancers develop a sense of movement quality and artistry as they gain awareness and appreciation of their bodies in motion. Through studies in choreography and improvisation, students cultivate skills in critical and creative thinking and learn to use and understand dance as a medium for meaningful and articulate self expression. Guest Artists throughout the year offer classes in a wide variety of techniques including West African, hip hop, improvisation, and modern. Students in dance perform at least once per trimester.
Students are placed in Beginning Dance or Advanced Dance depending on their previous experience and ability . One trimester of dance earns 1/3 Fine Arts Credit and counts as a team sport. Dance meets during the athletics period: 3:45-5:45 p.m.
Aspiring writers and publication specialists have many options at Chatham Hall.
Creative Writing - A creative writing elective allows you to explore techniques for writing short fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. You will develop your own talents as you read various examples of writing, study craft and technique, and present your work to the group.
Journalism - This class completely produces our girls private school newspaper, teaches the skills of newspaper design and production, as well as writing skills in news, features, sports and opinion articles. You just might move up to section editor or editor-in-chief!
Yearbook - You can take our class in yearbook design and production. Students on the team produce our 144-page yearbook. They learn page design, photography and production management in the process.
Iris - Chatham Hall's literary magazine will undergo a transformation in Spring 2012 in keeping with current trends in technology. Formerly a printed magazine solely for literature (poetry, short fiction, personal essays) and visual art, this year's Iris will appear in its entirety on Chatham Hall's website and include audio of student music compositions in addition to literature and visual art. The magazine will continue to appear in print for on-campus readers.