Reflection on the 2018 Fine Arts Theme of " Finding Your Way Home" 

By Katie Lebhar Black ’95, Interim Director of Fine Arts
The 2018 theme for the Fine Arts Department was “Finding Your Way Home.” This theme wound its way through our gallery exhibits and performances throughout the year. Dorothy, the hero of the fall production, The Wiz, sang about finding her home as she realized that home meant family and the love of the people in her life. Dancers also embraced this theme in their annual dance concert, titled “Home.” The choral concert explored this theme in many of the song choices. Our new teachers surely made their home on this campus, and we welcomed ESJ alumni back as teachers in our department. Many other alumni came home for workshops, residencies, and production design, such as Walter Ware ’08 and Clay Greenhaw ’06. John Wikstrom ’09 and Ashton Vincenty Wikstrom ’08 also came to share their work  in the arts during Fine Arts Week. 

As I sat at Commencement and listened to three artists speak (a singer and dancer, a flute player, and a painter — all who are also scholars and athletes — typical in this Four Pillar school), I was struck by how this Fine Arts theme was expressed in each of their unique student speeches. Danielle Corbin (salutatorian) spoke specifically of how the Acosta House was the subject of her ninth grade art work, and how that house became a home to her in her years in the Fine Arts. Jordan Polster (valedictorian) spoke of the teachers in her life that changed her perspective and how her family home shaped her for the good. And Jimmy Lyerly (senior class selected speaker) spoke of the welcoming family of students that made ESJ a home after he transferred here in tenth grade.

I was also struck by how many teachers and staff members stood when the ESJ alumni in the audience were asked to stand. So many of us have come back. We have come home. 

Home. This place is a home. ESJ is a family. The new graduates are going to leave and spread their wings, anxious to leave the nest. But we all know that soon they will realize, if they have not yet already, that this is their home. And they will return. They will find themselves at games, meets, productions, ceremonies, and alumni gatherings. They will stay in touch with their friends and teachers. And we will reminisce and reconnect in the same way a family does, whenever we find our paths crossing.