Arts For All Career Day Piques Student Interest

Students try out Zen Doodle, the meditative art of doodling. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

John Burroughs High School students enjoyed a recent school-day event focusing on the arts and careers in creative fields at the Burbank Arts For All Career Day. Held on campus in March, just before Spring Break, the many talents and interests of the high school’s students were celebrated and explored.

“This year we tried a different format with both student artists and community artists available for an extended period of time,” explained JBHS Library Coordinator Julie Grene, who co-chaired the event with BAFA’s Jamie Butterworth and Lisa Dyson. “In my opinion, this made the event even more dynamic and exciting. It was quite festival-like, with much creative energy on display.”

An art gallery in the mezzanine of the gymnasium displayed visual arts from every art class at the school, along with a demonstration of the new video game app design class.

“I was blown away by the variety and quality of their work,” commented Grene. “There were mini masterpieces, anti-bullying campaign graphics, beautiful details fine art in paint and pastel, self portraits done in the style of a famous artist, photography and even a student who was able to re-create the 3D effect of popular chalk artists by viewing his work through a lens on his phone!”

JBHS Dance Department performs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
JBHS Dance Department performs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Dance Department and JBHS Choir program presented live performances on the gymnasium floor. Drama students put on improvs in their studio.

Out on the quad, the catering class students provided refreshments and the school’s Jazz Band performed along with vocalists. Wood shop and airplane engine technology students showed off their items. Broadcast/journalism students interviewed those ambling about the quad.

Inside the library, two local writing duos set up with books, bookmarks and other fun goodies, added Grene. The young adult author teams of Kirby and Howell and Askew and Helmes shared their experiences with aspiring writers.

The school’s new Sketchbook Project booklets were available for students and a large table was set up for Zen Doodle, the meditative art of doodling.

“The students really seemed to enjoyed having this special place to come and simply draw alone or with friends,” commented Grene. “The paper I had covering the tables was a work of art in itself, with many choosing to do some beautiful artwork there or to leave a favorite quote or statement.”

Students try out Zen Doodle, the meditative art of doodling. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
Students try out Zen Doodle, the meditative art of doodling. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The Art For All Day at the high school level is a celebration of the students’ contributions to the arts,” commented event co-chair Dyson. “Our goal this year was to also tie in some local schools and businesses where students might wish to go to pursue their creativity.”

Community-based artists such as Burbank Music Academy, actor/caricaturist Jordan Monsell, Animation Academy, actor/voiceover artist/writer Jennifer Hughes, director and animation artist Robert Hughes, photographer Randy Flosi and graphic artist Johnathon Gallagher participated, along with representatives from Education Through Music, Woodbury University, FIDM and the Song Writing School of Los Angeles.

Ceramic artist Michael Hirsch was surrounded by kids all day as they had a chance to try the pottery wheel, added Dyson.

Ceramic artist Michael Hirsch engages JBHS students. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)
Ceramic artist Michael Hirsch engages JBHS students. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Make-up artists from Cinema Secrets were there as well to demonstrate techniques of “zombie-style” make-up on students and were constantly busy, she also said.

“These are all volunteers from our community, willing to give up their time and talent, and we couldn’t have been happier with the result,” Dyson commented.

Although Visual Arts teacher Beth Morrison stayed with the student art projects on the mezzanine of the gymnasium and was unable to see many of the other attractions, she said, “I can tell you that it was a pleasure brainstorming ideas with Lisa Dyson and Julie Grene, they are both wonderful partners and I will collaborate with them on anything any time.”

Dyson, Butterworth and Grene worked with JBHS visual and performing arts instructors including Morrison, Vocal Music teacher Brendan Jennings, Drama teacher Guy Myers and Dance teacher Megan Macready to put together Arts For All Career Day. Assistant Vice Principal Matt Chambers and Debbie Stevens in the school’s Athletics/Activities office were also integral to the success of the event, said Dyson.