Local High School Students to Participate in Syracuse Stage Arts Emerging Education Program
High school students from Fayetteville-Manlius High School, Fowler High School, Nottingham High School and the Institute of Technology will participate this winter and spring in the Arts Emerging education program at Syracuse Stage, an annual in-depth art project that relates to a current Syracuse Stage production.
This year’s project, made possible by support from Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds, is entitled Common Ground. High school students will create a documentary video project that examines social issues of class, luck and cultural identity as they relate to Syracuse Stage’s upcoming production of “Good People.” A key component of the project will be teaching high school students about the technical aspects of using video cameras, focusing on composition, lighting and creating narrative with video.
Assisting the students in this endeavor is a team of teaching artists that includes video editor Brenna Merritt, CBS affiliate news anchor Jeff Nelson, Sara Sellman from the Syracuse International Film Festival and Syracuse Stage Director of Education Lauren Unbekant.
“The value of this particular Arts Emerging project is using technology as a tool,” says Unbekant. “Technology is something that kids connect to. It’s part of their daily lives. But what they may not realize is that every time they use these tools, they are making art.”
To start, students will be asked to share their thoughts on topics such as family, culture and school. Their responses will shape the direction of the video, which will feature footage from their daily lives.
Unbekant hopes the process of recording will foster an interest in self-reflection. “Video is a wonderful medium for investigating life. This project will allow students to experience parts of their lives from different perspectives—first as the creator and then as the viewer.”
So far, Unbekant has been thrilled to see how incredibly honest the students can be. She hopes that the project will demonstrate to students that there are many paths to take in life. But beyond that, her only expectation of the finished piece is “to be surprised.”
Now through May, the team of teaching artists will visit each classroom multiple times. In April, participating students will attend a performance of Syracuse Stage’s “Good People,” a 2011 Tony-nominated play set in South Boston. The Arts Emerging project will culminate on May 22 with a public screening of the student-created documentary video. The screening will be held in the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage, free and open to the public, at a time to be announced.