Menlo to Host After-School Art Enrichment Programs on Campus


While on-campus classes remain closed, Menlo Drama, dance and Mural Club all plan to hold after-school enrichment programs. Illustration courtesy of Michele Hratko.

Georgia Paye, Assistant A&L Editor

This fall, Menlo’s Upper School is offering drama, dance and studio art after-school enrichment programs that will take place outside on campus or online. These programs will be optional and will follow all San Mateo County social-distancing protocols. In order to participate in these programs, students must be registered on the One Medical app and have proof of a negative PCR test within 14 days of the day they begin participating in these activities. 

The drama department will continue to do their annual fall play. This year they will be performing “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors. Virtual auditions will begin Sept. 15, according to Creative Arts and Drama Director Steven Minning. The drama department will be rehearsing virtually for the first four weeks starting on Sept. 21 and then will practice in person. When in person, Minning will form three separate pods — small groups of 12 people or fewer — who will be participating in the activity together. There will be the cast, which is made up of 12 students; the Foley artists, who specialize in sound effects; and the technical team.

The play will be performed on the Upper School quad. “However, depending on the situation [and] if things change, we could go virtual and just do a live streaming on Zoom or send out a pre-recorded [play], like we did with ‘Pippin’ [last spring],” Minning said. If the cast is able to perform in person on the stage on the Upper School quad, the play will also be live streamed and broadcasted over the airwaves like a radio station, according to Minning. 

The voluntary dance enrichment program is offering three groups: Knight Dancers, MidKnights and Knight Life, according to an email sent out by Minning. “What’s a little bit different this year is that we’re housing all three of those under the same umbrella. So we will be rehearsing together, taking class together and then some people might specialize in certain styles [of dance],” Upper School dance teacher Angela Curotto-Pierson said.

Some students will rehearse outside on campus socially-distanced from one another, and others will be tuning into the program via Zoom, according to Curotto-Pierson. “We plan to begin the program by the first week of October — hopefully sooner if we can get all the testing/pod logistics sorted,” Knight Life dance instructor Bibi Khalili said in an email to The Coat of Arms. 

The art department is hosting a Mural Club, which will be doing organized art projects, including a collaborative mural. The club started meeting virtually on Zoom on Sept. 7 and is continuing to meet every Friday after school at 3:30 p.m.

“Our goal is to eventually have this as an on-campus after-school activity, but for the current time being, we’ll remain as distant participants joining together on group projects,” studio art teacher Nina Ollikainen said. The club meetings involve the sharing of ideas, artwork and brainstorming group activities to do together, according to Ollikainen.