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Seven Persons Academy for the Fine Arts honing artistic skills for youth

Posted on April 25, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Heather Cameron
Commentator/Courier

Seven Persons Academy For The Fine Arts is run out of Seven Persons School and is for the students in grades 4 to 6 who wish to participate in it.

“It is a program that includes visual art, so like creating art pieces like that would be traditionally thought of as art, and then they are also participate in specialized music instruction, and a class in drama,” said Tiffany Molin, Music Teacher. “Our purpose is just to take students that have like a passion for the arts and to grow those students as artists.”

Molin says that the Academy has only been in existence since 2021, says that although the Academy is kind of new compared to some of the other things that have been around a little while, a lot the younger students get to see a lot of the things that the Academy does in our program, and so that gets them really excited about perhaps joining the Academy when they get to Grade Four. Molin emphasizes that if there’s a student whose family is unable to finance the registration fee, there is an opportunity for the school to help out with that.

“That is something kind of cool for them to look forward to when they get to that age, but also to start fostering that passion for the arts a little sooner and start developing their skills a little sooner,” said Molin. “And to just provide some more in-depth instruction for students that are really interested in the arts at an earlier age as opposed to waiting till junior high when they have like just a million options to choose from.”

Molin says that initial funding for the Seven Persons Academy For The Fine Arts came from the Prairie Rose Possibilities Program, which was a one-time fund to do some improvements to the current building to make a space that’s conducive to art and to purchase initial startup supplies. From then on, Molin says, the program is funded by school registration fees that come from the students who are enrolled in the program, as said fees pay for supplies and activities. 

Those activities, Molin says, include visiting artists, taking trips to visit local artists where they do art under the instruction of the artist or collaborate with the artist, hand sewing projects, individual and group music projects, and a district-wide project called ‘Kaleidoscope of the Arts.’ 

“Our Kaleidoscope of the Arts is celebration of arts across Prairie Rose, but we usually use that as a kind of a final concert for our music program,” said Molin. 

The Kaleidoscope of the Arts, Molin says, also affords the program a little bit of some specialty roles in some collaborative projects like Eagle View’s musical. The last musical that the program participated in, Molin says, was in Eagle View High School’s production of Elf in December 2022.

Molin says that other activities stemming from the Seven Persons Academy For The Fine Arts’s Kaleidoscope of the Arts includes the following:

2021-2022

Spring Play: The 33 Little Pigs

Kaleidoscope – performed a few short scenes from the play, painted Indigeneous drum heads, participated in a ukulele workshop, busked in the main foyer at the Esplanade

Art – print making, soapstone carving, several field trips and visiting artists

Music: Guitar, ukulele, xylophones, singing, percussion, individual and small group song projects

2022-2023

Spring Play: The Enchanted Bookshop

Kaleidoscope – Bucket drumming, a couple scenes from the play, busked in the Main foyer at the Esplanade

Art – field trips and visiting artists, eyes, mandalas, pop art, pysanka

Collaborate with Eagle Butte – painted backdrops with EBHS art students; visiting choreographer and vocal specialist to work on dance and singing of large ensemble songs in the musical

Music – ukulele, bells, boomwhackers, singing, bucket drumming with light up drumsticks, composing rhythms, individual and small group song projects

Visited Camp Cadicasu (in Kananaskis) for 3 days; did drama and art activities there

2023-2024

Spring Play: It’s a Madhouse!

Kaleidoscope – Art Gallery on 2nd level of Esplanade; scene from our play, busk on 2nd level, bells/boomwhacker medley of songs

Art – field trips and visiting artists, fabric arts

Music – ukulele, bells, boomwhackers, singing (including CBC’s Music Challenge Fall 2023), small group projects, large group song projects

Along with herself, Molin says that Karen Dion is our art teacher, and Rebecca Drew teaches the drama program and it is collaborative in that regard.

“Our school has had hockey academy for a number of years, and this year they’ve introduced baseball academy, and then because we had hockey academy and those kinds of things, we were looking for another way to bond art students together and for them to get together with other kids that are interested in art and music and drama and performance, and to have them kind of group and cohort together. The Seven Persons Academy For The Fine Arts just creates a really cool sense of belonging for like-minded students that gives some really cool, unique experiences or unique opportunities. We’re just looking to take students and elevate them from where from where they are to a new place.”

Molin says that the community has always been very supportive of the arts and that reflects in the increase in enrolment since the program’s beginning, as the program started with 19 students, had 24 students in its second year, and currently has 36 students. 

“That just shows how much the kids look forward to the program and how much they tell their parents that it is important to them, and then that becomes then important to their parents because their kids want those opportunities. Our parent community has always been amazing. The Seven Persons community has always very much rallied around whatever is going on at the school, as the school is part of the heartbeat of the community.”

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