When students step into the studio, the wood shop, the forge, or onto the stage, they shed the invisible weight of the world around them and immerse themselves in the identity-forming process of creating art.
Proctor is a relatively small school, 380 students and 90 teachers, where we call each other by our first name. We live in a community with the explicit goal of ensuring each individual feels known, and yet we often assign an incomplete identity to others based on an impression of an outward projection of self. They are a soccer player, a hockey player, an artist, a theater person, a gamer, a skier.
Within the hurried pace of life, both at Proctor and in society as a whole, it is far easier to simplistically place others into predetermined, conventional identity boxes. It allows us to easily make sense of those with whom we come into contact, and expedites the categorization of the complex social webs we are expected to navigate as a community. When we pause to actually know each other, however, we see the intersection of identities that Proctor encourages better than any other school we know. We realize how foolish we are to confine another's identity to that which we can see in a given moment.
Having the arts at Proctor integrated into the academic day and supported through afternoon programs asks students to risk and to trust, to step outside their comfort zones in order to discover a piece of themselves they may never have granted themselves access to prior. In both the performing and visual arts, students learn to engage, to trust, to accept that perfection is an untenable goal, so progress and expression of self becomes the priority.
They learn that practice makes progress, and that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but strength. They learn that risking failure, finding a passion, collaborating with peers, learning to appreciate delayed gratification, and sharing the learning that has taken place in the pursuit of creativity serves as a foundation for every program at Proctor, not just the arts.
A walk through Slocomb Hall, the woodshop, forge, metal engineering shop, Norris Family theater, the recording studio, or the dance studio reminds us to always be willing to uncover, refine, and explore our full identities as humans. Thank you to each of our student artists and our incredibly talented arts faculty for helping us, collectively, live into our full identity as both individuals and a community. It matters.
- Community and Relationships
- Performing Arts