The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

GRC Cohort: The art of community

Fine Arts Cohort 2024

Art doesn’t exist. It is out of reach, out of view, and out of mind.

That is the reality for lots of American public schools, as art classes become the victim of budget cuts.

However, GRC is not a school that eliminates the dreams of artists, and that is evident through the Fine Arts Cohort.

For years, the Fine Arts Cohort has been a celebratory program that honors the dedication and vision of many high school artists.

With different majors, students are able to study drama, dance, vocal music, instrumental music, or visual art.

While the majors are separated from each other for most of the time, full Cohort meetings are held every Monday to connect all the majors. This time is very beneficial for all the students to connect with one another.

“Throughout all four years of Cohort, I’ve made lasting connections with all of the kids in the program and with some of the teachers,” says visual arts major Ann McCreary. “Cohort is the perfect opportunity for kids to get connected with people who are just like them and have similar interests.”

But friendships aren’t the only thing that make Cohort impactful. With teachers who push the students to be the best they can be, the artists are being challenged in ways that truly show artistic growth.

That growth doesn’t even pertain directly to the art being created, but to the personality and characteristics of the students themselves. Cohort truly has been an asset for students to grow into their own skin.

“Cohort has given me many friends, and helped me come out of my shell,” says vocal music major Charlee Wesley. “It teaches you to think outside the box and do what you love even when people are doubtful of your success.”

The perception of artists is that their art comes effortlessly and without trial, but that isn’t the case. Many students have had to overcome feelings of doubt, insecurity, and vulnerability when creating their art, and the Cohort program has been a great tool to do so.

But even when these student artists overcome those feelings within themselves, they still put themselves out there to be the subject of public opinion. By giving peer critiques and providing help, students are able to work with one another to create art that is impactful to them.

“Cohort has been such an amazing opportunity for me to grow, not just as an artist but as a person,” says dance major Addison Moore. “I have grown in my creativity and I love being surrounded by teachers and students who share the same passion of creating art.”

Within the majors, levels of creativity differentiate. A major that is more interpretive, such as visual art or dance, can sometimes be harder to come up with original ideas as opposed to a major that is more mandated.

Cohort has been a way for originality to shine in a community setting. With the world of art ever-evolving, artist block appears as a frequent obstacle, but the community of Cohort helps battle that feeling.

“Cohort has given me coping mechanisms for artist block,” says drama major Silas Coogle. “The program has also given me help with other opportunities I have been given such as GSA and GSP.”

Programs such as GSA have been well represented by GRC Fine Arts Cohort. With students having gone for program areas like creative writing, vocal music, drama, visual art, and musical theatre, Cohort has really produced some of the state’s most well-rounded artists.

“From creating original projects, collaborating with the community, and networking with guest artists, Cohort offers a broad horizon for artistry,” says Kristofer Olson, the department head of the Fine Arts Cohort.

“It also helps students with post-high school artistic interests by preparing them for college auditions or programs like the Governor’s School for the Arts. Especially in a rural county, I believe it’s important that students get the opportunity to receive training that might be afforded to them in larger cities in the state.”

While only 17% of public school systems in the United States offer adequate art classes, GRC is one of those schools that truly values their art program. With Cohort, art becomes a relevant focal point of student life within our school.

Applications for the Fine Arts Cohort are now open for next year’s program (deadline extended).

Current freshman, sophomores, juniors, and eighth graders are welcome to apply and audition to be a part of this amazing program. 

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Zach Ross
Zach Ross, Features Editor
Once upon a time, a baby was introduced into the world. Fast forward 17 years, and you may find that this baby has grown into being a very talented, amazing, and awesome Features Editor. That baby grew up to be Zach Ross. In those 17 years of life, Zach has experienced the joys of dinosaurs, Broadway, Backyardigans, and Smoke Signals. And though he was once a baby, uncertain of the world ahead of him, he found a signal in the smoke and everything became clear. With every good story, there is a beginning and an end. The beginning was birth, and the end is Smoke Signals.

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