Among the many shutdowns due to the coronavirus came the ISAS festival of the arts. Scheduled at Casady’s peer school in Tulsa, Holland Hall, a huge number of Casady Upper Division arts students had prepared work ranging anywhere from solo and ensemble performing arts pieces to still life paintings and drawings. As disappointing as the cancellation of the festival was, it did not mean there is no longer a way to showcase and continue perfecting this art. Visual art teachers like Phyllis Seitter and Amanda Pardue have continued to inspire and facilitate creativity for these artists by distributing supplies, projects left at campus, and helpful advice. On the flip side, performing arts teachers have created virtual classrooms that stay connected even with the distances between performers. Live performances, video quizzes, and masterclass workshops are only small examples of the incredible advancements being made. Even during these difficult times, art lives on.
While at home, students like Gabrielle Vuong (‘22) continue to complete unfinished projects and begin new adventures. Vuong has continued to work, with the help of Mrs. Seitter, on works of clay and the ornate details that go into these pieces. From each coat of primer to the delicate flowers attached to the side, Vuong has continued to put the time and effort into her art that it requires, regardless of the location of her studio. While it is nice to be able to still create, Vuong does admit how “currently making flowers out of clay for a sculpture that I have been working on all year makes [her] miss being in Mrs. Seitter’s independent study class,” as that was the time where magic collaboration happens. Through online classes every other day, students still see their teachers and get the input needed to move on in their artistic process, but this limited screen time is an understandably poor substitute for in-person instruction. Putting that aside, Vuong, along with many other clay and independent study students, continues to prosper and flourish.
Although the performing arts are more difficult to replicate due to their need for an audience, Casady Fine Arts has come up with some incredible replacements. With group video quizzes on ensemble pieces, live recordings, and workshops with professionals around the city, students have not only continued to practice their craft, but they achieve almost the same feeling as performing in front of a crowd again. Instead of feeling isolated and discouraged, students feel inspired to continue practicing, and they have achievable performing goals to work towards.
Even with the cancellation of summer events like the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra’s (OYO) trip to Carnegie Hall and Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, musicians continue to practice and perfect their skills. Additionally, students in the orchestra were given the chance to audition for OYO through video submission. Not only did this encourage students to keep working, but it gave them an attainable goal to strive for. Both in and out of the classroom, nothing shy of marvelous music is being made.
Even with the numerous cancellations and setbacks due to this pandemic, Casady Arts continues to thrive every single day. Through hard work, perseverance, and talent, Casady artistic students, both performing and visual, have proved that nothing is impossible when you put your heart and soul into it.