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2021/2022 AEL-Funded Student Projects

For his AEL project, dance senior Eddy Pérez Trimiño offered an exquisite original choreography, entitled “Blackout,” which followed the state of mind of Alzheimer’s sufferers as they struggle to recall fragments of their lives using jagged, broken sounds from music they had listened to in the past.

high school student presentationGraduating Creative Writing major and Parallax senior editor Lillian Tookey held a Mother’s Day brunch to celebrate the release of her chapbook, Me and Who I Shop With, funded by Arts Enterprise Laboratory. The presentation featured a reading and a text-to-speech robotic guest to give a short speech about dissociation and creativity. Me and Who I Shop With explores the weirdness and wackiness of poetry in a voice that is humorous, yet serious and melancholy.

high school dancerDance Senior Nita Lomidze’s AEL project is based on The Butterfly Effect. Nita says: “Words and actions can change the way we view the world and put us on either the right or wrong path in life. There is a lot of pressure from some people in life, they can make us tired and empty. Sometimes you get the feeling of being stuck in one place, this might be caused by the people who you are surrounded by and how their words might be unconsciously affecting you. Eventually you will realize it and pull away to find yourself and the comfort within yourself. I was inspired to do a dance piece about the Butterfly Effect from the years of overthinking I’ve done since I arrived at Idyllwild Arts Academy. Coming to a different environment and meeting people who helped me open up to the world. They showed me things from different perspectives and made me realize that I had a chance to choose my own path in life. This idea is presented with different dance pieces as well as a fiction written by Creative Writer Bella Koschalk. A 14 minute dance filled with emotions and dedication.”

Creative Writing senior An Lin Hunt-Babcock served up Halloween candy and misfortune cookies to celebrate the release of her AEL grant-funded project Funeral Food, a trashy teen magazine featuring an interview with a gravedigger and horror-scopes as well as her stories and poetry.

Creative Writing senior Alyssa Minor’s AEL project, Hinged, is a book of poems that look at life “from a physical standpoint, getting more drawn out to a spiritual standpoint gradually throughout the pieces.” To accompany the book, she choreographed dance pieces and composed music for violin, cello, viola, and piano in an attempt to make the feelings in the poems more tangible for her audience.

Twelfth-grader Liam Creamer stands on the cutting edge of the Academy’s brand-new Music Technology Concentration. His Arts Enterprise Laboratory grant bought a portable state-of-the-art device that converts sound signals into light, using a venue’s already available lights. Liam is fluent in piano, drums, guitar, bass—and in technology that adds the extra kick of a spectacular light show to his powerful indie-rock and indie-folk songs!

An Tran, who studies jazz saxophone and songwriting in the IAA Music Department, took the initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic to teach herself music production using tutorials from YouTube and music websites. She had been feeling discouraged by her slow progress until she was introduced to IAA Music Department faculty member Clayton Powell. An’s AEL grant gave her the opportunity to take additional classes with Powell to learn both piano and music production, and she says he has now become her mentor and inspiration. An had the opportunity to showcase her new skills during her senior songwriting recital, and has received positive feedback about her growth as a musician following the work she did as part of her AEL project.

Oneness is a visual representation of the impact that people have had on my everyday life. I have noticed we change depending on the people and environment that surrounds us. Humanity, as other animals and plants, tend to acclimate to their surroundings in order to survive. Over the last two years I have been changing my appearance, behavior, beliefs and interests based on new experiences and knowledge obtained. Without even noticing, our paradigm can shift upside down by having a 5-minute conversation even with a stranger. Each handprint on the figure represents a person who has impacted and left a mark on my development as a daughter, friend, artist, and human being in general. The roots depict all the open doors and pathways that emerge every time I make modifications to be more open-minded by taking risks and listening to points of view that I am not familiar with. Finally, the living moss on top of the body represents how we all are unique creators who have the power to give life to new amazing things. We all are pieces of earth, waiting and wanting to be shaped.” – Olga Abadi Nakach

“In the Bible, Seraphim are described as petrifying ethereal entities with several eyes, wings and other mysterious features. Yet, today if you give a human form a pair of white wings, people will call her an angel. My intention with creating Arch(etype) Angel was not biblical accuracy or a cliche portrayal. Partially retaining the Bible’s eerie description of angels while adding elements of the contemporary angel’s beauty is my attempt to show how time fabricates beauty in certain aspects of life while tarnishing it in others. As cultures evolve, I see certain aspects of life’s purpose diminish while new exposures blossom. This harsh reality is that as the world’s problems resolve, new ones are constantly emerging. While the world evolves in this manner, having a higher entity to lean on must be beneficial and beautiful; to allow you to overcome the difficulties. Although I am not religious, a part of me envies having something to worship and devote myself towards. ” -Myka Morton

About AEL

The objective of the AEL Student Grant initiative is to provide students with an opportunity to develop and implement arts projects beyond the scope of the IAA curriculum. AEL also provides grant money for the development of directed master classes designed to facilitate mentorships with master teachers.

Student Grants for Emerging Young Artists

Students will be given a chance to apply for and receive small grants to create new works. These grant proposals will be open to the junior and senior classes because of the maturity required to shepherd an artistic project from concept through completion. The projects will be overseen and the students will be coached by the appropriate arts faculty, the AEL director, and the AEL intern. The application process we have put in place will give the students valuable experience in applying for grants as they move on through the rest of their education and on to their chosen careers. By making them consider all aspects of a proposal—idea, design, implementation, detailed budgeting, etc.—we will equip them with the knowledge they will need to pursue grants on their own, while providing them with the necessary skills and resources to navigate the process.

Master Classes

These master classes are designed to give our students direct interaction with professional artists working in the students’ chosen field of artistic expression. Since these classes will be more focused in scope and participation than a traditional master class, we hope to set up mentoring relationships that live beyond a student’s experience at Idyllwild Arts Academy and perhaps one that lives past a student’s college/art school/conservatory experience. These master classes will be for those students who are ready, both artistically and personally, for a more engaged and interactive mentoring relationship.

Career Education

The education component of the AEL has three basic areas:

  1. Introduce young artists to the myriad of jobs that are available in the art world and help them determine which would be best suited to their unique skills.
  2. Assist them in mapping out the best way to achieve their individual professional career goals, whether they are college, university, or conservatory bound.
  3. Introduce and perhaps set up summer internships and work experience opportunities for our students to take part in during their vacations.

We are currently working to finalize our plans for a “career” curriculum that works within the existing class scheduling. Since time is a precious commodity in our students’ lives, we will integrate this new material into our Life Skills class curriculum, senior seminar classes (in a general group and in each department’s senior seminar classes) and one-on-one conversations during the established college counseling process.

Arts Education Internships

The focus of this AEL area will be to employ young artists just out of college to serve as interns in our seven arts departments. Our present goal with this program is twofold:

  1. Give young artists a chance to create new work in a supportive and nurturing environment; and
  2. Support them as they explore teaching art in a classroom setting (which might just uncover a passion they might not have been aware of before). While our primary focus will be to offer these positions to IAA alumni, we will also look for suitable candidates from other schools.
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