Some Churchill art students had the chance to work on a commissioned project.
“It was fun actually working like you had a deadline,” said junior Anna Ferrara.
The students, 26 in all, developed a series of three animated public service announcements to promote the school’s new signature program, the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts.
The program, which starts next year, will be the second of four planned signature programs at Churchill. The first, which started last year, is the Academy of Mathematics, Technology, and Science. Programs such as this allow students to, “focus on their area of interest,” said Ruth Checker, signature coordinator for the school. “Many of the students take the courses, so they are happy to get the recognition,” Checker said.
Signature programs are designed for each school. In Churchill’s new program, students will be able to focus in a variety of different areas across the visual and performing arts spectrum. Students take four credits in their focus area and one in another area. For their efforts, the students will receive a citation on their transcript and a special tassel at graduation.
For the project advertising the new program, Churchill made use of the state’s Artist-in-Residence program. Leila Cabib (Churchill ‘78) was selected to mentor the students.
“Animation is something I always love to do,” Cabib said.
Cabib had equipment necessary to produce the animated shorts which have a total running time of just under seven minutes.
The first was called zoetrope, the animation runs in a loop so that the first and last image are the same. The second is a stop motion short of dancing paper dolls, and the third is called the exquisite corpse. In that each student was assigned a segment and would give the next student a picture of how their segment would end. It was then up to the students to connect the previous image with their own image.
“It was really set up like a professional assignment,” Cabib said. “What they learned throughout this process were the basic concepts of animation.”
The students were selected by members of the Churchill faculty. “They were a particularly talented and focused group,” Cabib said.
The commission allowed students to work in a way they hadn’t before. “I’d never colored my animations before,” said Ferrara. She plans to make animation her career, and was excited to see her own work.
“It was nice to see it on screen,” she said. “It makes me want to go into it more.”
Other students were motivated to work in new ways during the production. “[The deadline] kind of pushed me to work harder,” said junior Danny April. “I got a different experience than I would have.”