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Sparking Creative Thinking Through Fine
and Performing Arts

Stimulating emotional, social and intellectual growth in our students, Fine and Performing Arts have always been considered integral to our educational practice.  From the therapeutic aspects of cutting, painting, sculpting with clay and drawing, to the higher-order thinking process involved in creating a finished canvas, we consider the Arts essential to our curriculum.

According to Liesa Schimmelpfennig, founder of the Studio Arts program at Manzanita in the early 90s, "the Arts can spark a child’s creative thinking abilities in ways many other disciplines cannot. Art encourages us to find solutions to problems in a unique way—asking us to draw upon our inner resources—such as starting a painting with one idea in mind but having to change it as the painting begins to deviate from our preconceived notion.  This dialog between the unknown and the known challenges the child’s spectrum of thinking and stretches his or her parameters of thought" (The Importance of Art in the Classroom, 2003).

Our Art program is administered through the Art Director, art specialty teachers and the artistic talents of many of our full-time classroom teachers.  We encourage the integration of the Arts—Visual Art, Music and Drama—into other subject areas whenever possible, as this helps engage students in the curriculum on multiple levels.  Art journals, wall displays, classroom theater, decorative projects and scientific illustration are just a few of the ways core teachers can extend the Fine Arts program in their daily curriculum.

Using a variety of art media including charcoal, pencils, paint, pastels, ink, clay, wood, canvas and paper, we introduce students to multiple techniques, styles and genres, while making frequent reference to Art History and the working life of artists today.  Many of our teachers have professional backgrounds in the Arts, bringing an authentic passion for the disciplines of Art and their importance in society.