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Student Project Explores Art Through the Ages
The wide-ranging conversations about the arts touch on jazz, dance and theater. They are the basis of a documentary that a group of honors art students at SJND is putting together to show how art through the ages brings people together.
At a meet-up last month on campus, Elizabeth Harris, a longtime Alameda resident, suggested Jonathan Schuitema ’14, who loves jazz, check out Jelly Roll Morton. She then turned to talk tap dancing with Chloe Cunningham ’14, an accomplished dancer.
The group of local senior citizens from Water’s Edge retirement home came to SJND as part of their ongoing visits this year with the arts students, gathering around tables to nibble on cookies and talk about music, art, theater, dance … the thing that drives them all, regardless of age.
The conversations between the teenagers and the senior citizens included talks about their favorite styles of music: big band (the seniors) and jazz (the students). They talked about how high school has changed: from not going to a prom (the seniors) to thoroughly enjoying prom (the students).
“It’s such a pleasure,” said Elizabeth Harris, a resident of Water’s Edge. “It’s as though we’re coming to life again.”
The students filmed some of their interviews with the seniors and are putting together a documentary about the multi-generational project, said Mark Ritter, chair of the visual and performing arts department.
“We thought it would be a good idea for the residents to see how high school is and how it’s changed,” said Water’s Edge administrator Stephen Zimmerman, who jumped at the offer by Ritter to get students together with older residents to talk about the arts. It’s the first such collaboration between the residents’ facility and a high school.