“Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”
– Oscar Wilde
At Lava Heights Academy, the fine arts are a venue for self- expression and self-exploration. We teach our students skills and techniques in theater, music, dance, and visual arts with the intent that our students will be able to explore and express themselves more deeply and more accurately. We tend to see that our students’ artistic progress is often paralled therapeutically; as our students become more expressive artistically, they become more open therapeutically; or perhaps we see they can express themselves artistically when they cannot express themselves in therapy.
The fine arts curriculum at Lava Heights includes classes, private lessons, and group collaborations across the four art content areas. Therapists may be present at private lessons to gain further insight into where our students are at as they explore and express themselves. While we provide our students with technical artistic training, our main focus is the development of the person through the arts, and we focus on three main objectives toward this end:
Expresssion – that our students are able to convey their inner ideas, thoughts, and feelings through the arts
Evaluation & Exploration – that our students can look at their means of expression and work towards clarifying what they hope to convey
Integration – that our students feel their expression has become unified and that they area ready to share it with others.
At Red Rock Canyon School our students have the opportunity to make their musical dreams a reality. In our on-campus recording studio, students go through the process of writing, recording, and publishing their own music under the guidance of our producer Alan Shalby. “For most people, picking up an instrument and playing it releases a lot of tension and anxiety, it relaxes them. It gives you a sense of self worth if you’re a song writer.”
Through two courses offered at Red Rock, Recording Engineering and Songwriting, students have access to instruments, recording equipment, a sound board, and a mixing board. They are given the tools to find their voices and shape their vision throughout the creative process. Some of our students even opt to create their own music videos! As a final product, students lay down their tracks on compilation CDs which come out about every three months.
What once started as an idea, a camera, and some computer software has turned into a multimedia studio at Red Rock Canyon School. Under the guidance of George Manu, students have the opportunity to learn photography, artistic composition, film production including filming and editing, music editing, and the use of the editing program Final Cut Pro.
Students learn to work as a team as they take their project from the planning stage, through production, and into post production editing. They develop responsibility and discipline through learning proper equipment etiquette and care. By preparing the skits and music performed for each Red Rock parent weekend, students learn the value of patience and hard work; it can take about two months two create a 15 minute performance.
“The main goal is to get the creative juices flowing,” says George. “I want the kids to not be afraid to attempt something. If it’s challenging then let’s do it.” Students learn the value of having an idea, pursuing it, and seeing it succeed. They also learn the value of seeing their ideas fail. They learn that ideas and projects often change and evolve, and that just because one idea may not succeed, it does not mean they should fear pursuing their other ideas.