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Students Find Inspiration at DA
Claire Quan '20 Staff Writer
October 25, 2017

The Deerfield arts program has inspired many students to explore new genres of art. Despite beginning as complete novices, many students  progress to and beyond AP-level courses. These students have demonstrated a natural ability in art forms and have been able to flourish in Deerfield’s art program.

Commenting on the uniqueness of Deerfield’s art program, Art Teacher Mr. David Dickinson explained, “We’re one of a few schools who teach foundational drawing and skills so students can make an intelligent choice whether to continue in this discipline or choose another path.”

Credit: Nick Ortega
Nicholas Ortega ’19 performs “Fiesta Latina” with Jacqueline Alvarado ’17 at the 2017 spring dance showcase.

Cameron Snow ’18 recalled, “I took a very limited amount of art classes before coming to DA. I mainly doodled in my free time.” As a sophomore, he decided to take Intro to Studio Art to fulfill his art requirement, but also seized the opportunity to further explore a hobby. He stated, “I figured that I should take something that was interesting to me.”

Snow continued taking art beyond the requirements and is now taking Topics: Post-AP Studio Art. He spoke highly of Mr. Dickinson, his teacher for both AP and Post-AP Studio Art: “Mr. Dickinson always reminds us to leave our mistakes on paper. [I have learned] to look beyond what I initially see. Mr. D taught us that art is essential to life.”

Snow is confident that he’ll continue engaging in studio art classes in college, where he aims to improve upon his technical skills, as well as explore other mediums of art.

Mim Pomerantz ’18 also reflected on how she began her artistic journey: “One of the biggest things for me was seeing all the amazing drawings of Deerfield students displayed.” Both Snow and Pomerantz are excited to see the program continue and to develop their own skills as artists.

Nicholas Ortega ’19 experienced a similar learning experience in dance. Ortega joined the dance program with virtually no technical or classical training, a daunting challenge for a new student. Ortega recounted: “I wanted to join the dance program after seeing Lori [Ms. Clark]’s jazz piece to ‘You Don’t Own Me.’ I loved the dynamic of the piece and how everything was able to come together. I just wanted to be able to dance like that.”

Ortega began co-curricular dance as a sophomore, setting a strong foundation for his current position as a member of the Intermediate Dance Ensemble. Ortega met dance teacher Ms. Stephanie Shumway through the dance co-curricular and is now taking private lessons with her.

“I love Steph as a dancer and a teacher,” Ortega affirmed. “She’s a contemporary dancer; that’s what I strive to be.”

The dance program, specifically designed for students to move through the ranks as they improve, will welcome Ortega to Dance III, the higher level of the intermediate ensemble, next year. Ortega said, “Ms. Whitcomb [the Director of Dance] is very patient with new dancers and encouraging to all of her her students. She’s one of the reasons I felt safe and supported when I first began [dancing at Deerfield].”

As Pomerantz remarked, “Don’t be afraid to try something new. Just go for it, you’ll be surprised by what happens.”