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Governor’s School filmmaking, visual arts students...

Governor’s School filmmaking, visual arts students share insights on presentations for 2022 grand finale

Visual art participants in the 2022 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts at Middle Tennessee State University stand with their collective painting, created with charcoal, inside the Todd Art Gallery Tuesday, June 21, before presenting it at this weekend's grand finale. More than 290 high school juniors and seniors are winding up their three-week arts residency in vocal and instrumental music, visual art, theater, dance and filmmaking at the annual event, held at MTSU since 1985. (MTSU photo by Favour Boluwade)

All hands have been on deck to prepare participants of the Governor’s School for the Arts for the final days of the arts camp hosted by Middle Tennessee State University and its College of Liberal Arts, including high schoolers Vivienne Hunter, Ava Jensen and Connor Brinker from cities across Tennessee.

Hunter, a 16-year-old junior from the Chattanooga School for the Arts, spoke excitedly about her team’s short film, “Afterlife Inc.,” to be presented at the grand finale this weekend.

Vivienne Hunter of Chattanooga, a junior at Chattanooga School for the Arts and a filmmaking participant in the 2022 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts at Middle Tennessee State University, pauses inside the Todd Art Gallery Tuesday, June 21, while serving as one of the directors for her group’s short film, “Afterlife, Inc.” More than 290 high school juniors and seniors are winding up their three-week arts residency in vocal and instrumental music, visual art, theater, dance and filmmaking at the annual event, held at MTSU since 1985. (MTSU photo by Favour Boluwade)

For Hunter, Governor’s School has been a hub of creativity and a place for teamwork. She noted that it’s brought her directorial skills to life.

“It is a 10-minute-long rom-com and we are finishing the final scene, the seventh scene,” said Hunter, one of the film’s directors. “One of the students brought the script idea, and with team effort, we are at this stage we are. We are left with the last scene and editing to sort.”

The group “decided to make it a lot easier to accomplish the film’s idea by using an office building,” she explained, adding that they then “got together and chose the script. I direct scene seven.”

With the goal to learn while filming, everyone on the team has different roles, according to Hunter, “because we are all trying to learn. We do different jobs on different scenes.”

‘Learned about myself and my craft’

Jensen, a junior from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School, has been at this year’s Governor’s School for visual arts, focusing on drawing and painting. The 16-year-old from Sevierville, Tennessee, said she’s learned a lot from GSFTA.

“I have had fun so far because I have met a lot of people (and) learned about myself and my craft, such as book binding, which I didn’t know about ’til I got here,” Jensen said.

“The faculty here is nice and down to earth, respectful and care about us. They try their best to communicate with us, even when COVID affected some of us.”

Ava Jensen of Sevierville, Tenn., a junior at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School and a visual arts participant in the 2022 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts at Middle Tennessee State University, smiles at the entrance to the Todd Art Gallery Tuesday, June 21, while discussing her planned presentation at this weekend’s grand finale. (MTSU photo by Favour Boluwade)

Jensen also gave an insight into her schedule over the past couple of weeks.  

“In our orientation classes, we learn a lot about arts history, why we do art, and how it pops up in most cultures,” she said. “It is part of our human nature, and it unites us all.

“We also have studio classes where I do my drawings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, (and) we have presentations from faculty members who tell their stories and sources of inspirations.”

Jensen said she’s done a lot of learning from other people, too, which to her “is where experience comes from.”

Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts banner logo

“We have a final exhibition from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday (June 24), and our sculptures, paintings and drawings will be displayed,” Jensen said.

One of those works, a painting created with charcoals, “is a big, merged idea from about 20 different people,” she explained.

“We were examining some spirals and patterns … in one of our classes, and we decided to make something from all the shapes we like,” Jensen said. “I have never met more unique and at the same time nonjudgmental and welcoming group of people.”

‘The program is very well-rounded’

Brinker, originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and who now lives in Corryton, Tennessee, said Governor’s School has been a “cool experience” for him.

“I will say the program is very well-rounded, and there is a lot to do,” the Gibbs High School junior said of his visual arts studies. “I would have loved to see tutorials before choosing my classes, though, but I have had three amazing, top-notch teachers. They taught me a lot of stuff I haven’t been able to do anywhere else. I have made a lot of friends here.”

Connor Brinker of Corryton, Tenn., a junior at Gibbs High School and a visual arts participant in the 2022 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts at Middle Tennessee State University, pauses for a photo inside the Todd Art Gallery Tuesday, June 21, while discussing his planned presentation at this weekend’s grand finale. (MTSU photo by Favour Boluwade)

For his individual visual arts presentation on Friday, Brinker planned to display an oil pastel drawing.

“I am still thinking of what to pursue as I get closer to starting off college life,” he said, adding that his Governor’s School experience has shown him how to be creative with his career path.

“I will potentially choose (helping with) therapy,” Brinker said. “I am not sure I want to pursue (the) arts, but I want to incorporate it somewhere in my life. Doing this (GSFTA) has shown me ways I can do that, and I have learned different things I can use.”

More information about the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, including finale and other performance videos, is available at https://gsfta.com. For more information about MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts, which offers programs in each of the Governor’s School specialties, visit www.mtsu.edu/liberalarts.

— Favour Boluwade (news@mtsu.edu)

Visual art participants in the 2022 Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts at Middle Tennessee State University stand with their collective painting, created with charcoal, inside the Todd Art Gallery Tuesday, June 21, before presenting it at this weekend’s grand finale. More than 290 high school juniors and seniors are winding up their three-week arts residency in vocal and instrumental music, visual art, theater, dance and filmmaking at the annual event, held at MTSU since 1985. (MTSU photo by Favour Boluwade)

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