to Davis & Elkins College and the West Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts!
For three weeks each July, the best young artists in the state gather at Davis & Elkins College to hone their craft. Through structured time within the seven GSA disciplines (creative writing, acting, dance, digital media, visual art, vocal music, and instrumental music), students focus on their art. Working with master teachers in their field, each student has the opportunity to expand their knowledge base and further develop their skill set. Additionally, each day includes an ‘interdisciplinary period’ which gives the student experiences in other artistic disciplines in order to broaden their artistic horizons.
The GSA program at Davis & Elkins includes off-campus trips, exciting enrichment events, and a chance to get to know your peers from around the state. The overall theme for GSA 2011-2013 is History and Heritage in the Arts. As such, in 2011, GSA explored the state’s Civil War history through field trips and on-campus events. These experiences helped to create an artistic framework for student learning. Building upon this, the theme for 2012 was ‘The Way We Worked’. The Randolph County Community Arts Center hosted a photography exhibit of the same name from the Smithsonian. The exhibit centered on the way our approach to ‘work’ has changed over time. In 2013 we look forward to "Statehood." West Virginia has always been a little bit different. Even when we were Virginians, we didn’t quite fit the mold. On some level, our secession from the Old Dominion was inevitable. Or was it? What drove our Mountain State forefathers to separate? How has that separation shaped us culturally and artistically? How do WV artists today embrace that separation while still honoring our heritage? Our theme will look back at where we come from but also look forward to where we are going.
GSA overlaps with the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College's summer sessions. Every year, Augusta brings some of the finest traditional musicians and artists to Elkins for five weeks of learning and fun. Augusta Heritage Center is known nationally and internationally for its activities relating to traditional folklife and the folk arts of many regions and cultures. This collaboration provides GSA students with many one-of-a-kind experiences.
The goals of GSA are for students (1) to become more knowledgeable and proficient in their discipline; (2) to interact with other disciplines in ways which will broaden their outlook on arts in general; and (3) to learn more about the history and artistic heritage of their home state and region. For outcomes, we expect the students to (1) become more confident in their own abilities; (2) create a sense of community with their peers from across the state; and (3) develop pride in the history and heritage of their native state.