Arts14 Adds Afterschool Activities


Among the classes in the brochure, it also walks you through how to register.

Kaitlyn Cashdollar, Senior Reporter

The start of the new quarter also brings new Arts14 classes available after school. There are a multitude of new classes, as well as reputable old classes. Several of them are available to high school students. Maria Navaratne, part of the Arts14 team, had lots to say about the Arts14 mission to elevate the arts at District 14.

“[Art] is a different perspective on looking at the world, looking at the world creatively. We’re trying to get people to be creative in every different way. You look at our breadth of classes, it might be song writing or fencing. It’s such a wide variety of classes, but they all have something in common, and that’s creativity. They require critical thinking skills and creativity. Also, within a lot of our activities is a lot of social and emotional competency that is required. Working together as a team isn’t exclusive to sports. We have this amazing choir with the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale, and it’s 10% to do with singing, and 90% to do with working in a group and as a team, and you wouldn’t think that of something that wasn’t a sport. There’s that whole myriad of reasons why art is important in our daily lives, from visual art to people having an aesthetic awareness of their surroundings, and taking care of our planet and valuing culture, especially in this day and age. Value in culture is very important,” Navaratne said.

All classes mentioned in the article are free and available for high school ages. To register, go to, then Departments, then Arts14, then Register Now. After that create a Family Account or log in. The person registering would then select the classes they want to take. There are a great variety of classes available, including music, art, and theatre.

Guitar II, taught by Brendan Hannigan, is the more advanced version of Guitar I. It introduces more advanced concepts and techniques, including seventh chords, movable barre chord shapes, and basic elements of lead playing. It is on Mondays from 4:30-5:15 at the SILC. Along with that, there is also a class called Songwriting with Garageband taught by Everardo Reyes. In this class, students will improve their technical and song writing skills through completing mini composition lessons and finishing one professional recorded original song on Garageband. These series of classed are on Wednesdays from 3:30-5 at the SILC. In another class taught by Hannigan called Rock Band, students learn the art and skill of playing with others in a band. The focus of the class is on the practical development of listening skills, communication skills, instrumental proficiency, and collaborative creativity necessary for group music-making. It’s from 3:30-4:45 in the SILC Ensemble room.

In another class, both Reyes and Hannigan joined together to teach about improvisation. In the Mustang Jazz Society they focus on musicianship, collaboration and innovation. Each week students will learn different genres of Jazz and soloing styles. Max Hexom (12) is one of the participants and advocates for the activity. He has been trying to recruit members of the jazz class and band to join the class.

Another class taught by Reyes is the Music Jam. All abilities are welcome, and everyone is invited to play, sing, or drum along. It’s at the MAC from 3:30-4:45, and free pizza is provided.

Terry Leve, the band director at MSHS, is teaching a class. In Catch the Audience Ear, Leve and his students watch and analyze movies and their music, and choose their own music to depict the mood of your choice. It is in the SILC band room from 3:30-4:30 on Thursdays.

One of Navaratne’s favorite classes available to high schoolers is the African Drumming and Dancing taught by Safietou Goudiaby. From 4:30-5:30 on Mondays, this hands-on, energetic class teaches students traditional African drumming songs and body percussion. It is said to be an “entertaining, rhythm filled journey. The drums are provided, and it takes place in the SILC Band room.

Aside from music, there are many other art classes available for students. One of these classes is Fiber Art/Beadwork taught by Kathy Eldridge. In this class, students will learn to read a pattern and complete a wonderful circular piece with colors of their choice. It takes place in Bonner’s art room in the SILC from 3:30-5 on Mondays. Along with Beadwork, there’s a Fused Glass class taught by Gabrielle Waters, the media center advisor here at the high school. Students will learn to cut, shape, and embellish fused glass designs to create jewelry or small art pieces. It is in Gocinski’s art room in the SILC from 4-5 on Tuesdays.

The Mustang’s own Paul Bonner is teaching a Clay in the Making! class where he demonstrates different styles, including freestyle, of sculpture with paper clay. It is in his room from 3:30-5 on Wednesdays. Erin Gillespie teaches the Fundamentals of Acrylic Painting class on Fridays from 3:30-5:30 in Mrs. Stageman’s room in the SILC.

There are also some more active and compelling classes, such as Martial Arts taught by Andrew Ziegler. It is a class with a balance of sportsmanship and practical self defense training, with a belief that development of body and mind can be achieved through martial arts training. It is in the MSES gym from 4-5 on both Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Another more lively class available is the Stage Combat Levels 1 & 2, which combines theater with a more dynamic activity. Taught by Alex Williams, it will teach students how professional actors stage and perform both unarmed and single sword combat. Williams is certified in basic and advanced safeties, acting techniques and historical/technical contexts of the techniques of stage combat. It is in the SILC band room from 3:30-5 on Wednesdays.

One of the more popular and known classes offered is the Mustang Thespian Society. In this class, high schoolers are welcome to join and immerse themselves in theatre and connect with like-minded friends. It’s on Mondays from 3:20-4:20 in the SILC theatre.

Along with these classes, there is a special class specifically for the Lantern Parade, where kids come together and make their own lanterns out of everyday objects. It’s on March 27-31 from 1-3.

Navaratne also has a guideline to create a successful Arts14. “I think any great art organization never grows from the top down. Like you could throw a ton of money to a group of grown-ups to come up with some great programs for kids, but they do now work. These kids are into it, like the Jazz Society, and if those kids aren’t as into jazz as I am then it’s not going to work. It has to be grass roots. That’s why with things like that, when I turn to kids like Max (Hexom), its because I need to grow it from the students up not top down, because it just doesn’t work. Look at political movements at the minute. If you look at the Resist movement or the Women’s March, they didn’t come from the democratic party. They didn’t come from democrats, they came from grass roots. Action. It’s a similar sort of thing. The students are the most important.”