One never knows what new, creative, and spontaneous acts of art might pop up at McDonogh School in Owings Mills! This is especially true on Art Pop-Up Day, a fun springtime event that makes the arts as accessible and visible as possible for all students in prekindergarten to twelfth grade.
“Throughout the year, our arts teachers develop incredible, collaborative projects for their students,” says Director of Fine and Performing Arts Kara Zimmerman, “and on Art Pop-Up Day, children and adults get to interact with those projects in all kinds of ways.”
Art Pop-Up Day was introduced in 2017. During past events, faculty and students of all ages could be spotted around campus dancing, singing, playing an instrument, or performing an improvisational skit. A jam band and dance party popped up at the bus lot, and students created and “planted” a garden of paper flowers in another spot. Several student choruses sang outdoors for appreciative passers-by, and the string ensemble sent lofty melodies into the air. One of the most memorable moments was a lunchtime appearance by dance students in sound suits— full-body costumes made entirely of recycled materials that produce quite a racket!
The third annual Art Pop-Up Day is today, May 1, and more artistic wonders are in store! A main stage on the campus green will host rock bands, a West African dance performance, a sock puppet sing-along, skits by acting ensembles, plus a host of other performances. Traveling minstrels and singing groups will also appear flash-mob style around campus. Students will be able to create cyanotype prints (photographic blueprints) and sidewalk chalk drawings. Underwater video art will be on display, and a “Make the World Kinder with Art” station will provide an opportunity to create jewelry and buttons to spread positive messages.
As enchanting and whimsical as Art Pop-Up Day is, it is simply a one-day sample of the extensive and expanding fine and performing arts programs at McDonogh. Zimmerman says, “We offer a wide variety of arts classes in each division that are designed to appeal to many different types of students—students who are refined artists looking to polish their expertise or students who may not self-identify as ‘artists’ but are still looking for an immersive arts experience. There are extracurricular arts activities that attract our students as well. Our recent production of Shrek the Musical brought together a diverse group of students from our Middle and Upper Schools who shared their talent and love of the arts with our whole school community.”
For parents of young children who would like to nurture their progeny’s creative spirit at home, Zimmerman has some advice. “I find the best way to truly allow creativity to blossom is to follow their lead and allow them to play and simply “be” as often as possible. Providing them space and time to explore and play in their own way will help develop the confidence to transfer those skills to other parts of their lives. The imaginative experiences kids have when given time to create are truly incredible and are definitely worth the clean-up!”
Article written by Noreen Lidston. Photos provided by McDonogh School.