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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 presentation Graduating 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 dancer Dance 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

The AEL aims to provide entrepreneurial opportunities for students to competitively apply for grants to support the conceptualization, production and promotion of original work and/or participation in summer internship opportunities. Under faculty mentorship, grant-receiving students learn to create schedules and budgets, follow through with grant requirements, and to recruit and collaborate with their schoolmates.

Strategic Partnerships

The AEL assists in spreading artistic opportunities to those in surrounding communities, particularly those with less access to the arts. Strategic Partnerships share the gift of the Idyllwild experience with younger students, provide entrepreneurial opportunities organized and run by IAA students to expose them to the intersection of arts and the workforce, and create lasting connections with programs in the larger community to ensure ongoing interchange of ideas and creativity.

Master Classes

By bringing professional working artists to campus, the AEL provides on-campus Master Classes as part of students’ holistic pre-professional training. The AEL strives to equitably distribute these opportunities across majors in keeping with the intersection between arts and academic subjects.

Alumni Relations

In collaboration with the Alumni Relations Manager, the AEL builds and expands upon our ongoing relationships with working alumni by bringing them to campus to speak with current students about life beyond Idyllwild. Alumni interactions provide students opportunities to learn about the process of creating and finding entrepreneurial artistic opportunities.

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