Taking Center Stage: Life as a Student Artist

A doctor’s duty is to save lives in the most physical manner. An artist’s job is to save lives, but in a way that may not be necessarily obvious. 

Student artists Silas Coogle and Emma Hackworth have lived in an attempt to save lives for years. Through their different mediums of theatre, writing, dance, and music, Silas and Emma are experts in their art forms.

The life of an artist relies heavily on balance. Trying to balance rehearsals with schoolwork, family activities, and free time proves to be difficult when projects start to take off.

“I have been doing art basically my whole life,” says junior Silas Coogle. “I’ve been doing theater seriously for four years, have been playing piano for eight years, and have been in orchestra playing the viola and double bass for seven. I have also done animations and had a YouTube channel that showcased different flip books I made.”

A devotion to arts has been prominent in both of their lives, ultimately taking them to Governor’s School for the Arts but for different art forms. Silas went for creative writing and Emma for musical theater.

“I learned a lot from GSA that I got to take back with me,” says senior Emma Hackworth. “One thing about the arts is that you become completely vulnerable. From my time at GSA and even in cohort, I have really had the opportunity to strengthen my abilities and embrace that vulnerability.”

But for every artist, the journey isn’t necessarily the easiest path to follow. Ridicule, mockery, and disengagement are only a few of the things that come their way. Embracing the vulnerable is especially hard in those times, but it’s a sacrifice an artist has to make. 

“Sometimes the things you have to do on stage are really difficult,” says Silas. “It’s hard when you play a character who is ‘comedic relief’ but also has to have depth and emotion. You become so invested in your character that it becomes really easy to put yourself in their shoes.” 

Having a mentor is one of the most important parts of crafting their skill. Letting someone help teach you and walk with you on your artistic journey helps you grow, hone your skills, and all together lets you work with someone you trust.

“The people at Leeds Center for the Arts and even within the cohort program have pushed me and mentored me,” says Silas. “All my best friends are involved in at least one art form, as well. They just make it more fun.”

Even with all of the balance and determination that comes with being a student artist, school still proves to be important.  However, art still finds a way to shine through their schoolwork. 

“I find that my experiences in art help me with school,” says Emma. “Even when I’m trying to remember something for class, I can make a song out of what I am learning and it really helps me.”

Seeing the world from a different point of view could prove to be impactful. Different people from all kinds of backgrounds come together to create something so spectacular it can only be labeled as art.

“Art gives me a new point of view on things,” says Emma. “I get to meet so many people and learn so many different skills from them that I use in my everyday life.”

Even with the trials and tribulations, art is a matter of saving lives. With the balances that come with being an artist, these students continue to prove that art is life. 

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