Fine Arts Students Explore Global Citizenship

Ellis Island and global citizenship have emerged as topics of discussion across the Fine Arts disciplines this year.

Instructor Jono Hustis is directing Middle School students in a play called “Our Story,” which looks at how the American family was born out of immigrants from all over the world. Many of these immigrants, including the ancestors of our own students, came through Ellis Island on their journey to citizenship.

“The students will be auditioning for this play and they will begin to understand how their own stories are connected both to the characters they will create and to each other in this wonderful story,” said Katie Lebhar Black ’95, Director of Fine Arts.

Nancy Evans Dance Theatre founder and choreographer, Nancy Evans, spent time as a guest choreographer at ESJ, following the first Episcopal & Jacksonville: Partners in Arts event with Jacksonville Dance Theatre and Nancy Evans Dance Theatre on September 8. Nancy Evans created a piece for dance students for the spring dance concert. The piece focuses on Ellis Island and coming to America. Students looked at the struggles and the stories behind those that came here before us and are still coming here to this day.

Chorus students, under the direction of Carolyn Tuttle, are currently preparing for their annual productions as well. They are looking at the diverse heritages of our own student community and preparing world music that highlights and celebrates songs from countries that our students’ ancestries represent.

The Fine Arts theme for this year is “Reignite, React, and Renew.”

“We are sincerely hoping that this emphasis on our individual and collective histories will reignite a flame of enlightenment that will remind our students of our commonality as well as the strength of our differences and that both add to the fabric of our community,” shared Katie. “We also hope that we can react with empathy when we meet others who have different stories and heritages than our own. And lastly, we can all find a renewed passion to keep these stories alive so that we can continue to celebrate our great country, our global connectivity and our individuality.”