|The arts are a unique discipline which develops students' expressive qualities and creative thinking skills. Through its methods of active learning, creative problem-solving, and critical self-evaluation, art fosters flexibility and freedom in decision making. It thus encourages critical and divergent thinking. Through the arts, students expand their human capacity to perceive, understand, and appreciate life, and extend their learning across other academic disciplines.|
In the middle school, art is included as an important part of a student's daily schedule. Every child will take a trimester each of music, visual arts and drama. By the time students have completed eighth grade, they will have the equivalent of one year in each of the three arts disciplines offered at Kent Denver.
In the upper school, students may choose to specialize in a preferred arts discipline, or they may fulfill their graduation requirements by taking a wide variety of classes in drama, music, or the visual arts. Arts classes are designed to introduce the basic concepts and techniques of a particular art form, then as students grow in their comfort level, they are guided through more complex conceptual work. After their first year, many students opt to enroll in one of our advanced art courses. Many students also participate in one or more of our performing arts groups, or in a club sponsored by the art department.
The Middle School music classroom is noisy, active and energetic. These are good things for the music room! In middle school music, we work in an Orff based curriculum to explore rhythm, melody, harmony and movement. Kids understand the music they are playing on multiple levels, and have a great time doing it. On any given day, students will be seen playing instruments, exploring through movement, and working together to create musical experiences that are worthwhile and meaningful. The eighth graders wait patiently for two years, staring at the guitars on the wall, until it is their turn to learn to play. We spend their arts rotation learning basic guitar skills that can be applied in the Upper School, if they wish to continue, and many of them do.
In addition to working at KDS, Kathleen has two little girls to keep her busy outside of school. She also enjoys reading, sewing, cooking, and working to refine and further develop her own skills as a musician.
Corky 'Corky' Dean
Corky Dean's classrooms are abuzz with exploring the realm of possibilities — playing with ideas and materials to move students beyond convention. Photo students have combined traditional and digital processes, installed large-scale public art projects, and completed long-term documentary studies of environmental change and imaginary post-apocalyptic cultures. Sculpture students have successfully completed public art projects throughout Denver and built and altered furniture. Outside of the studio, Mr. Dean can be found running and riding area trails with the cross-country team and mountain biking class.
Peter 'Pete' Ellis
Pete Ellis can frequently be found in the Vault teaching a range of beginning to advanced upper school acting students. Be it an exercise in the two-year, conservatory-style introduction to basic methodologies of the Acting I/II sequence or the development of an original theatrical piece by Guerrilla Repertory Theatre, his classes emphasize the importance of respect and collaboration in producing ensemble-based work. The director of the upper school fall play and winter musical, Pete embraces theatre as a social art, for it is through the sharing of stories that students discover how collective self-expression can effectively engender communal understanding.
Jonathan 'Jon' Fortmiller
Jon Fortmiller uses a wide range of media in his own work: film, graphic design, painting, digital photography, and sculpture. In his teaching, Jon strives to help his students develop outstanding technical skills while encouraging them to find inventive solutions to assignments.
Stephen 'Steve' Holley
Steve Holley, a native of Memphis, grew up surrounded by music. Before coming to Kent Denver, he was a full-time musician who toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad. During breaks in touring, he was on the faculty of both the University of Memphis and Rhodes College. Mr. Holley strives to bring real-world experiences to the students at Kent Denver through numerous performance opportunities and trips throughout the year, as performing in front of an audience is truly one of the best ways to grow as a musician.
Sarah Mitchell can be found in the lower level of the art building amidst the high energy of middle school artists. If you step in her room during a class, you will find students building, drawing, thinking, painting, creating, exploring and having fun. Most of her days are spent in the creative sector, but she also devotes her time to soccer, advising, and keeping our campus environmentally aware.
Margaret NeJame is passionate about ceramics and metalsmithing just as much as she is passionate about instructing students in the creative process. In the Metals and Ceramics Studio, Ms. NeJame bounces from student to student dialoguing and demonstrating processes, which makes for a very fluid and active learning environment. She approaches each discipline in a way that allows the individual's personality to shine through her or his creations.
Taylor Pringle strongly believes theater is a venue to unite communities. As a result, many projects are collaborative and focus on generating original student work. She creates an environment that encourages students to express themselves and to discover their individual strengths as artists. Students are constantly on their feet as active participates in kinesthetic learning.
Melia Reece teaches choir in the upper school, is a music director for the upper school musical, and teaches piano and guitar lessons on campus. Most days you can find her in the Choral Salon rehearsing songs with the choir and listening to the beautiful voices of her students. Ms. Reece is also an expert gardener whose tomato and herb plants are available for purchase every spring and summer.
Mr. Reece has sent many a student to college with a love for music and the guitar. In class, he can be found teaching the ways of playing the guitar properly, adjusting truss rods, changing broken strings, replacing batteries in guitar tuners, and keeping track of capos. In fact, at home he can be found doing pretty much the same thing with his own gear. In the summer, he is off camping, fishing, and enjoying time with his family.