Clark students share GSA lessons

Published 8:58 am Saturday, July 28, 2018

Three students from Clark County recently completed a weeks-long intensive arts training program at Centre College, where they honed their skills and came home more inspired to share their talents with others.

Tessa Miller, Angelica Moran and Jalam Sutton of Winchester returned July 7 from the three-week Governor’s School for the Arts Program.

The three were some of more than 250 young artists from the Commonwealth selected for the prestigious program.

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During their stay, the artists were immersed in a rigorous schedule of daily seminars, master classes, lectures, hands-on workshops and field trips to regional arts attractions.

Instruction was offered in nine disciplines: Architecture+Design, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre, Film+Photography, Visual Art and Vocal Music.

Miller, 17, a senior at Sayre School in Lexington, and Jalam Sutton, 17, a senior at George Rogers Clark High School, studied drama. Moran, who could not be reached for comment, studied visual arts.

Miller and Sutton said their experience at GSA reaffirmed their chosen career paths and reignited a passion for the arts.

“The experience was very fun but very intense,” Miller said. “I got to study alongside about 34 others in my art form and it was just very humbling to be part of such a selective program and to be surrounded by 256 other very talented artists from all over the state. It really put things into perspective.

“It made me think, ‘You’re here for a reason, and there’s a reason to continue.’ Going into it, we already displayed a lot of the skills and ability to prosper in our art form. But now we’ve had the opportunity to hone them and work on them.”

Sutton said he discovered a self-confidence he wasn’t previously aware of.

“I learned a lot about myself and also my career,” he said. “I learned I don’t need to look for validation. I am all the validation I need in my art form. I learned I can get paid to do what I love. I learned I have a lot more confidence than I thought I did, to be proud of what I do and to share it with others.”

Both said they gleaned lessons about teamwork and gained a new appreciation for other art forms.

“I learned how to be collaborative,” Miller said. “In my art form, we worked with the film and photography students, and the instrumental students underscored for us. It was really cool to work with people outside our art forms. We learned to work with others despite their differences.”

“My favorite part was the appreciation I ended up having for other art forms,” Sutton said. “They spend so much time showing other art forms. I learned to love all arts, not just your own.”

The experience wasn’t all about personal and professional lessons, but also on perseverance.

“I’d say one of the biggest things I learned was to start and never give up,” Sutton said. “As an artist, we are going to experience times when we are told no or people don’t believe in us or agree with our choices. But we have to remember we have something special and it’s something that needs to be shared with the world.”

Miller agreed.

“Don’t be scared to do the thing that you love,” she said. “That can break you down. Most of us have been told we can’t make a career, can’t do drama the rest of our lives, can’t sing as a career. But going through the program, I learned it is OK to choose an art form as a career. And if you don’t, that is still OK. You can still do something with what you love. Just don’t be scared to try.”

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0049.

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