Exploring interests during Inter*mester

  • A student practices her swordfighting skills in Stage Combat class.

  • A student works on her graphic novel in Megan Hildebrandt's "More than Stories" class.

  • Arts Academy alumnus Kit Williamson (IAA 02-04) teaches "Image/Text/Sound."

  • Percussion students rehearse for the Steve Reich Festival.

  • Students measure wood for their birdhouses.

Each January, the two-week Inter*mester term gives students the opportunity to explore arts and activities outside the normal scope of their curriculum. This year, students selected courses from a wide variety of academic, artistic and athletic offerings. The following are some of the highlights.

Students in Megan Hildebrandt’s “More than Stories” class learned the basics of creating comics and graphic novels. The students began the term by developing the personality, attributes and appearance of their main character. These characters were then presented to the class, who asked clarifying questions about each character and offered suggestions. As the class continued, students combined both literary skills and artistic techniques to develop their character’s story. At the end of the class, the students shared their illustrated story with the class.

In The Writing House, Creative Writing students welcomed a special guest, alumnus and actor Kit Williamson (IAA 02-04), who co-taught “The Poetry of Playwriting” with Creative Writing Instructor Brittany Cavallaro. Williamson led the students through a study of Aristotle’s poetics and Freytag’s Pyramid, using literary and theatrical examples to help demonstrate these ideas. Guided by their in-class learning, each student developed and wrote their own ten-minute play by the conclusion of Inter*mester.

"Art of Ecology" students spent Inter*mester constructing the art pieces that will be placed in the red pine plantation off of Riley Road this spring. The students also witnessed the felling of several red pines, which will make room for reforestation by native species. More information about this project can be found on the Art of Ecology blog.

Many theatre students elected to start their day with a rousing session of “Stage Combat.” While the class was primarily focused on theatrical swordplay, instructor Bill Church also introduced exercises with other props to help the young actors safely perform scenes of combat or physical conflict. Instructor of Physics Taoufik Nadji even joined in the fun, enrolling in the class as a student.

Instructor of History, Economics and Political Science David Allen once again offered his annual course, “The Art of Martin Luther King’s Legacy.” The students enrolled in the class were tasked with preparing material for the special Martin Luther King Day community meeting on Jan. 15. During the meeting, the students—as well as student volunteers not enrolled in the class—presented a variety of artistic selections dealing with topics such as racism, inequality and injustice.

In the Phoenix Scene shop, Mary Ellen Newport and Katie Wibby’s “Building Birdhouses” class learned woodworking for the benefit of our feathered friends. On the first day of term, representatives from a local avian rescue organization, Wings of Wonder, visited the class and introduced three raptors: a saw-whet owl, an American kestrel and a red-tailed hawk. The students spent the next several class sessions choosing a species and researching the types of nest boxes preferred by their chosen species. With plans in hand, the students learned carpentry and constructed their birdhouses under the watchful eyes of staff carpenter Doug Shively and residence life staff. “Building Birdhouses” enrollees also had the opportunity to view wild snowy owls in their natural habitat.

Comparative arts presented “Einstein’s Keyboard” during Inter*mester. Co-taught by Taoufik Nadji, Grammy-winning musician Luis Resto and DJ Salar Ansari, the course explored the physics of electronic instruments. Each student applied their knowledge by building their own miniature synthesizer.

While students had the opportunity to explore other arts areas in the mornings, afternoons were reserved for major-specific classes. Several arts areas utilized the afternoon block to prepare for second-semester performances: theatre for their one-act festival; dance for their winter dance concert; comparative arts for their performance of Kenzoku; and percussion for the Steve Reich Festival. Motion picture arts and creative writing students explored the relationships between images, sound and text, creating a short video incorporating all three elements as their end-of-term project. Music majors enjoyed a variety of selections, including Sidecar Ensemble, Sight Reading and Repertoire Exploration, and Music in Context: A Historical Survey.

Other popular classes included a student-taught tap dance class, a video game design course, audition intensives, and sports classes such as badminton, basketball and volleyball.

See our SmugMug gallery for a selection of photos from these and other Inter*mester classes.