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ARTS

FINE & PERFORMING

W H ER E GI R L S CR EATE


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G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

“At GPS, there is permission to play and to investigate. In fact, that’s probably why our program has historically been so successful: we teach technique alongside improvisation.” Cathie Ault Kasch ‘72, retired Director of Terpischord and Performing Arts Coordinator

THE ARTS FOR EACH GIRL The Fine and Performing Arts Program at GPS touches each girl. Dance, drama, visual arts, and music are all required in sixth and seventh grade. From there, a student can craft her own path, with more than 40 arts classes to choose from throughout her GPS career. Recognized as a tenet for educating and engaging the whole girl, the arts are integral to the GPS experience. They provide a safe space for young girls to take risks, make mistakes, uncover hidden talents, and foster deep connections. Beautiful works are created but, more importantly, a girl learns to master a creative process that will benefit her throughout her life — whether she wants to be a software engineer, a painter, or an accountant.

Not every girl will become an artist, but each girl learns to be a creator.


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

“With more than 40 arts classes offered in our curriculum, a student can explore, experiment, build, and develop her self-confidence. She can tap into a creative process that requires critical-thinking and moderate risk-taking underpinned by her sense of wonderment and infinite possibilities. We lead her learning experience when necessary, walk beside her to assist and support, and nudge her forward when she is ready to take off on her own.” On the Cover: Middle School coordinate musical Beauty and the Beast JR

Meg Persinger Brock ’79, Fine & Performing Arts Department Chair

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THE CREATIVE CLASSROOM Engaging different parts of her brain, the arts are uniquely positioned to foster creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and confidence —all elements of the GPS learning framework. (adapted from the National Education Association)


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

CREATIVITY | “We provide girls a stress-free environment

where they can feel free to be creative and not afraid to take risks with what they do artistically. I think the greatest gift we can give them is to encourage them to be themselves.” Mike Lees, Director of Choirs, Middle School Musical Director and CoDirector of Upper School Musical

CRITICAL THINKING | “Working in theater is a constant

stream of critical thinking because you have to be thinking almost fourth dimensionally—in the imaginative world of the playwright or the ensemble that’s conceived something, on the plane of existence on the stage, and then how the audience will perceive it. So you’re constantly framing, reframing, contextualizing and recontextualizing your critical thinking skills.” Mark Krawczyk, Drama Teacher

COMMUNICATION | “In dance, girls have to conceive,

create, and rehearse as a group. Through this they learn how to have a strong voice but also an openness to receive. It’s about voicing opinions while realizing that not every opinion will fit.” Laurel Moore Zahrobsky ’90, Dance Educator and Director of Terpsichord

COLLABORATION | “In the performing arts, it’s important

girls learn to sublimate their own wishes for the wishes of the group in order to create a greater piece of beauty.” Mary Baxter, Orchestra Director, Music Teacher

CONFIDENCE | “The girls put their truest sense out there

to be critiqued, and when they receive positive remarks on their art from their peers, it’s a big boost to their confidence. Their response is very different when compliments come from their classmates than when they come from me.” Debbie Glascock, Art Teacher

“Music has helped me learn to be a problem solver, gain confidence, and connect with others.” Margaret Lim ’18, who played violin in Tango and is currently studying neuroscience at Duke University

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THINKING LIKE AN ARTIST MEANS…

» D  EVELOPING CRAFT continually assessing what works and what doesn’t » O  BSERVING taking the time to closely examine the world around you » S  TRETCHING feeling free to make mistakes and continually refine your process


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

» E XPRESSING learning to have a strong voice but an openness to receive » E NGAGING AND PERSISTING having the discipline to push through barriers » C ONNECTING realizing great works aren’t accomplished in a vacuum

Formed in 1954, Terpsichord is the first high school contemporary dance company in Tennessee and one of the longest running dance programs of its kind in the U.S.

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DESIGNED FOR GIRLS Girls thrive in a learning environment that offers community, connection, and experiential learning. They learn best when they feel supported. Each member of the Fine Arts faculty is deeply committed to establishing a supportive environment in which each girl can thrive.


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

» “ I can honestly say that I felt more challenged and supported in the art department at GPS than I do in my collegiate art classes. That does not mean that my college art program is weak, but that the GPS program is so incredibly strong. The community that the GPS art classrooms fosters is invaluable for a young artist.” Abigail Hegwood ’18, a studio art major on a pre-med track at Hollins University » “ I think GPS does well in resisting labels for their students. I was never the art girl, or the rowing girl, or the smart girl. I did well in those areas, but I was always just me. When I found myself in a more competitive environment—better students, better athletes, better artists—I didn’t lose my identity because GPS taught me to value myself beyond my performance or ranking.” Lachlan Davis ’14, graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in English and art history, works as a full-time oil painter with a business in Charleston, South Carolina. » “ While I value my experience at GPS in its entirety, I can trace nearly everything I’m doing professionally back to early foundations in the GPS arts program. Perhaps the most important thing I gained was the sense of community it fosters. In the arts, we strive to do our best in ways that are unique to us and celebrate others for doing the same.” Jennifer Goldsmith Clements ’01, graduated magna cum laude from Marist College, earned her MFA in creative writing from George Mason University, and was a Fulbright scholar recipient. She currently serves as managing director of Theater Alliance in Washington, D.C.

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OUR PROGRAM AT A GLANCE BY THE NUMBERS:

40+

FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS CLASSES OFFERED FROM 6TH TO 12TH GRADE

100%

ARTS PARTICIPATION IN MIDDLE SCHOOL; 77% IN UPPER SCHOOL

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AVERAGE NUMBER OF ART CLASSES A GIRL WILL TAKE WHILE AT GPS

2 THEATERS | 4 DANCE STUDIOS | 7 ART STUDIOS 700: the number of seats in Frierson Theatre, one of the largest theaters in Chattanooga 4: number of AP art classes offered (AP 3D, AP 2D, AP Studio Drawing, AP Art History) 9: average number of professional artists, musicians, and dancers who visit campus each year as part of the Guest Artist program

FRIERSON THEATRE not only sets the perfect stage for student performances, it regularly attracts outside performances that further enrich the arts experience

KEY PARTNERS in the community, such as the Chattanooga Symphony, Chattanooga State

Theater Program, and local art galleries, strengthen the program and enrich student experiences by offering students an opportunity to showcase their talents outside of GPS and offering their expertise and talents to GPS productions. The fine arts program actively seeks ways to support the local community, offering artwork to support organizations such as the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, Erlanger Hospital, Ruby Falls, Rock City, the Chattanooga Opera, and more.

GUEST ARTISTS are welcomed to campus throughout the year. National and international

professionals in both dance and visual arts have given presentations and hosted workshops thanks to the Fine Arts Visions Guest Artist Fund and other individual donations. Music students are allowed to take a free master class one semester per year, allowing one-on-one instruction from a professional musician.


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

AT GPS, THE ARTS ARE… INDIVIDUALIZED A student doesn’t have to love the spotlight to find her place. Each girl is encouraged to foster her creativity in the subject (or subjects) that interest her. We allow girls to tell their own stories, from their own lives, and be their own heroes.

INTEGRATED The arts can enhance understanding in other disciplines, and teachers always seek ways to collaborate. This might look like an eighth-grade dance class demonstrating the 5 Atomic Theories through movement, or a sixth-grade visual arts class painting masks that mirror the global cultures being studied in geography. A Latin and dance teacher have partnered to help sophomores understand the rudiments of Latin meter through movement. An Upper School science teacher recently asked for input on Gyotaku fish printing to supplement her lesson on fish dissection.

TRANSFORMATIVE We meet each girl where she is and challenge her to reach her full potential. A student who had never read music now shines as a violinist, one of the most difficult instruments to learn. An eighth-grade girl, who hadn’t danced beyond preschool ballet, was recently selected for a prestigious summer dance intensive program. The GPS Fine Arts program opens girls eyes, meets them where they are, and uncovers talents of which they may have been previously unaware.

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by Abbey Hegwood '18


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

THE ARTISTIC ADVANTAGE Extensive and deep involvement in arts activities was a significant predictor of students’ later academic achievement and community involvement. The relationship between arts-rich educational opportunities and subsequent achievement persisted, even when controlling for socio-economic status. (Source: A 2009 study by UCLA professor and researcher Dr. James Catterall)

High school students who have taken 4+ years of art classes score, on average, 49 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 38 points higher on the math portion (Source: Critical Evidence)

CHILDREN WHO STUDY THE ARTS ARE: » Four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement. » Elected to class office within their schools three times as often. » Four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair. » Three times more likely to win an award for school attendance. » Four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem. (Source: National Governors Association 2002 report, link)

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HONOR ROLL


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

» 2  012 Recipient of the Southern Regional College Board Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts » T  he GPS instrumental music curriculum boasts one of the largest performance-aimed programs in the area » T  he Tango String Quartet is a semi-professional ensemble that performs approximately 14 events in a school year, from on-campus luncheons to weddings, banquets at the Convention Center and Hunter Arts Museum. Students have won cash awards to help with college expenses. » A  ll four girls nominated for the statewide competition Governor’s School for the Arts were accepted for the summer of 2020 » F  or the past five years, the Middle School Coordinate Program has earned a superior rating in performance and sight reading from the East Tennessee Vocal Association » E  act year students participate in the McCallie/GPS 10-Minute Play Festival, a coordinate show featuring eight original short plays written, acted, and directed by students and faculty from McCallie and GPS. The program allows student directors to gain experience in all aspects of a show including casting, running rehearsals, determining lighting, blocking and set pieces, and giving performance notes to actors. » M  cCallie/GPS Middle School’s play, Let ‘Em Play was featured in American Theatre Magazine

“Now a professor in the art and design program at the University of Tampa, I realize that many of my entrylevel students don’t even know how to use basic design software. Having a high school offer graphic design puts GPS students ahead of the game, and I know I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t had the graphic design opportunity at GPS.” Christina Singer ’08, graphic design professor at the University of Tampa, formerly an in-house designer for a Meredith Corporation magazine in Vermont after graduating from East Tennessee State University

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A LONG TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE A snapshot of the incredible GPS alumnae making an impact in the arts. MARSHALL PERSINGER ’77, film and TV producer

Marshall began her entertainment career in 1986 in New York, cutting her teeth on such high-profile projects as The Silence of the Lambs, The Thin Blue Line, Married to the Mob, and Miami Blues. As an executive producer now based in Los Angeles, she has overseen multiple wellknown productions including the Emmy nominated series “The Alienist,” Peabody Award winning “Rectify,” and Lifetime’s hit series “Army Wives.” Her documentary Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession was an official selection at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and subsequently screened at film festivals all over the world. Marshall also produced Showtime’s Wild Iris, which garnered Best Actress Emmy nominations for both Gena Rowlands and Laura Linney, with Linney winning the award. “When I was at GPS, there was not a formal Fine Arts department; the exposure to the arts was across the board in our regular classes, including English, history, Bible, French, and even Terpsichord. All of the staff was committed to teaching in unique and memorable ways. They imbued a deep curiosity and interest in many topics, cultures, and religions, which continue to drive me in my work today as I determine what films or TV series I will explore and/or produce.”

PHOEBE-AGNÈS MILLS ’18, college student, painter Although

Phoebe is still in college, she has already enjoyed notable recognition as an artist. While still in high school, her painting “Watercolor Windows” won the Congressional Art Competition, which led to it being displayed in the U.S. Capitol. She was also awarded an Arts Fellowship for The University of the South, where she is currently double majoring in philosophy and art with a minor in French. In 2019, Phoebe won Best in Show runner-up at a juried member’s show for the Association for Visual Arts (AVA). “Many of the great strides that I made both in artistic skill as well as in confidence in my abilities were cultivated while at GPS. All of the faculty were (and still are) incredibly supportive, though this support was well matched with a good amount of freedom. The GPS art department introduced me to opportunities that have been invaluable to my growth as an artist.”


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

SARAH UNRUH ’95, designer, owner of Maquette Kids

Graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in furniture design, Sarah has worked for some of the country's largest housewares brands, including the Food Network and Martha Stewart. In 2016, she launched Cosmos Textiles, a home textile company specializing in upcycled, antique linens. Her latest venture — Maquette Kids — is a line of modular birchwood dollhouses that children assemble themselves. “GPS gave me the space to explore and deepen my creative thinking, which led to a career in problem solving — design. I’ll never forget the sparkle in Mrs. Carithers eye when I was accepted into the Rhode Island School of Design.”

MARY CHANDLER GWIN ’14, medical student, dancer

Mary Chandler is a dancer, choreographer, scientist and medical student. Although she graduated from Yale with distinction in her major, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, she pursued the arts with equal fervor, navigating dance, art history, writing, and theater classes. In 2018, Yale honored her with the Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Creative Performing Arts. As a medical student at UNC-Chapel Hill, she still finds time to dance with a local performance company. “At GPS I was able to dance with Terpsichord while also competing in Science Olympiad and JETS, allowing me to fully explore my appreciation of science and art from an early stage. The interdisciplinary approach of the Fine Arts Department at GPS taught me the importance of balance and provided me with some basic tools on how to establish such. I’m thankful that I was able to learn these strategies at a young age.”

MARY ALICE HANEY ’89, creative director and CEO of

HANEY | Mary Alice’s resume is as glamorous as the women who wear her namesake line, HANEY — Reese Witherspoon, Heidi Klum, Taylor Swift, and Kerry Washington to name a few. After graduating from SMU and getting her MFA from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, she began her career working for Harper’s Bazaar. After serving as the west coast editor for Allure, GQ, Marie Claire, and Lucky Magazine, she went on to a successful career as a celebrity stylist for A-listers such as Jennifer Lawerence, Brie Larson, and Blake Lively. In addition to launching her own readyto-wear label in 2013, Mary Alice has created and hosted several TV fashion shows and served as a fashion expert on the Today Show and Good Morning America. “My art portfolio from GPS was one of the main reasons I got into SMU and then later into American Film Institute. The art department and also Terpsichord gave me so much joy and confidence. I can't express how important the work I created at GPS was to my future career in the arts.”

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KAREN WILSON HARPER ’79, session singer,

production designer, floral designer | Karen has graced many famous stages as a Los Angeles-based singer, including live performances at the Oscars, GRAMMYs, and The Hollywood Bowl. In addition to singing in more than 130 films, numerous TV shows, and commercials, Karen has recorded as a session singer with various big name artists including Harry Connick Jr., Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Alan Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, and more. She’s also performed live with Enya, Perry Como, Randy Newman, and Gnarls Barkley, and as lead singer in many LA-based jazz and pop bands, including The Red Hots. In 2009, she started pursuing production design for film and TV, and launched a successful floral design company in 2011. “I draw on my experiences from the GPS fine arts department often in my career. Thanks to amazing teachers, I felt supported to pursue all types of mediums. The most important to me was the music department, but I loved Terpsichord as well, as it opened my eyes to a new kind of expression. GPS also helped me realize my love for painting, drawing, and even sculpting.”

LINDSAY MEEKS EDWARDS ’99, dance therapist

Lindsay is a board-certified dance/movement therapist and licensed professional counselor, receiving a masters of art degree from Drexel University and a bachelor of fine art degree from The Florida State University. She currently serves as director of the creative arts therapies department at a federally qualified health center in Philadelphia. She has been recognized throughout her career, including receiving the “Most Excellence in Clinical Work” award for dance/movement therapy from Drexel University, and the Association of Performing Arts of NY “Emerging Leadership” award while working for the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. “By studying dance in an educational setting, students who didn’t ‘excel’ by traditional standards were still given opportunities to shine. I internalized that every person has something unique to offer, and collectively we are stronger because of our differences. This helps me as a dance/movement therapist to witness people’s truths and assist them in discovering the gifts they offer. The GPS Fine Arts Department normalized risk-taking, failing, process vs. product, conflict-resolve, consensus-making, and creative expression as a means to teach collectivism.”


G I R L S P R E PA R ATO R Y S C H O O L FINE & PERFORMING ARTS

EMILY KILLIAN ’06, actress | Emily works as an actress in Los

Angeles, with nearly 20 television and film credits. She was named Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Sally Bowles in “Cabaret,” and earned Best Actress nominations for her stage roles as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” and as Shelby in “Steel Magnolias.” In 2019 she toured nationally as Peppa Pig in “Peppa Pig’s Big Adventure.” She also has also appeared in national commercials. “GPS provided the most inclusive, student-focused theater program I could have hoped to be a part of, creating an environment that not only equipped us with the skills to bring excellence in our work, but also armed us with the curiosity and confidence to become better stewards of our craft. The collaboration I learned has made me a better team member on stage and on set today.”

JENNIFER HALENER ’92, violin maker | Jennifer has been making violins in Nashville since 2004, and her instruments have been played on stages at the Grand Ole Opry, Chattanooga River Rocks Festival and the 2015 Maker’s Fair in Nashville. Jennifer was first introduced to the craft when she watched Jim Humble of Ooltewah make her first violin at age 11. It wasn’t until she graduated Belmont University and started apprenticing with local luthiers that she gave the craft serious consideration. Jennifer has been recognized by the Southern Violin Association and recently built a replica of a 1743 Guarneri del Gesu Cannon for old time/bluegrass fiddler Jesse Wells. “I enjoyed getting to play music in orchestra at GPS, but it was probably the visual art department in which I spent the most time, getting to dream and create on a different level. I was given the autonomy and responsibility to come up with my own ideas and how I wanted to express them, which still informs my work today.”

DESIREE EARL SOTERES ’84, opera singer, voice teacher,

cofounder of Aria412 | As both an operatic singer and musical theater performer, some of Desiree’s many career highlights include singing for Pavarotti as a World Finalist in his competition, singing the role of Cunegonde at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and being a featured performer in a series of concerts in Europe, South America, and Australia aboard Cunard Cruise Lines. A favorite role was Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, which she performed on opera stages throughout California and Oregon. Desiree is also co-founder of Aria412, a collection of professional singers seeking to expand opera’s reach through informal presentations. “GPS is one of the reasons I'm a performer today. The drama teacher at the time, Susan Pendleton, had a very positive impact on me. She exposed us to many different kinds of genres, which helped broaden my outlook.”

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Meeting girls where they are; taking them wherever they dare dream.

2 0 5 I S L A N D AV E N U E C H AT TA N O O G A , T E N N E S S E E 3 74 0 5 GPS.EDU Š2020

Profile for Girls Preparatory School

Girls Preparatory School | Fine & Performing Arts Brochure  

Learn about the fine & performing arts program at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, TN.

Girls Preparatory School | Fine & Performing Arts Brochure  

Learn about the fine & performing arts program at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, TN.

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