Visual and performing art is naturally collaborative. Across the District every day, Frisco ISD students work together on their campus in large and small ensembles toward a common goal, but fine arts students at Vandeventer Middle School have taken this to the next level.
Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, Vandeventer art and music students were led through a series of lessons molded around Latin culture in preparation for a collaborative music and art performance. For one spectacular night, the students proved through an artistic program that visual art and music are not only easily woven together, but also enriched with a focus on learning about a culture.
Families entered Vandeventer through an art gallery that displayed the work of middle school students who had been inspired by the music of the movie “Coco.” The art students had been working for weeks listening to Latin music, while learning about Latin artists and techniques.
Zoe Schneider is an eighth grade student in Art 3 who believes that music expands her artistic vision.
“Music and art are naturally connected,” Schneider said. “When you let the music flow through you, your creative mind feels free to create something new.”
Students in Leanne Rainey’s Vandeventer art class prepared several works for the art and music event while learning about traditional Mexican folk art. Students crafted elaborately cut tissue paper art called papel picado, assembled paper marigolds and created pieces inspired by sugar skulls and fall harvest still life drawings.
“Just like in music, there is a rhythm to art and the students found inspiration in the music that their peers were learning and incorporated elements of the music in their artwork,” Rainey said.
After the gallery walk, families were ushered to the cafeteria where orchestra students performed under the direction of Director Chase Fickling and Assistant Director Paul Schmaus, who had prepared a program showcasing all the orchestra students.
From the first plucks of the strings to the culminating performance by the advanced symphonic orchestra when they played music from “Coco,” the pride emanating from the students and parents was palpable.
During the performance, a slideshow was projected on a screen that showed visual-art students creating artwork inspired by the music the orchestra musicians were playing in concert.
“It’s magical when the student musicians can visualize just how their music has inspired others,” Fickling said. “Our interdisciplinary collaboration allows us to go deeper with our students to help them gain a stronger understanding of the impact of the arts.
“The collaboration helped to strengthen each student’s understanding of the Hispanic culture. From classical guitar to mariachi music, the orchestra students learned how music reflects and impacts a culture and traditions.”
The art show and concert was a fantastic success and was the best attended in the event’s history.
“I’m excited that everyone can see how all of us visual and performing artists may take different artistic journeys but they are still similar and rooted in the same vision,” said eighth grade art student Sophia Burokas.