STORY BY HAL SAGA
PHOTO FROM CYPRESS COLLEGE THEATER DEPARTMENT
The Cypress College Fine Arts Department is now working in full capacity on campus with various plays, art galleries, and concerts that are planned for the Fall 2022 semester and onwards.
Whether it be theatre, art history, or music, collegiate fine arts is a department that requires the satisfaction of interactive learning. Professors are adjusting to teaching their students in person rather than online. They are going back to their old methods of learning without being divided by a screen. With many performances having been done virtually in the past, students who have not been on campus until this year gained new experiences working hands-on with other people and their professors at full capacity.
The theatre department planned several shows for the fall semester, one of them being Almost, Maine. The change from online to on campus allowed for these theatre students to create connections they wouldn’t otherwise be able to make over Zoom.
Having an in-person performance let Ashley Corachea, a second year in the theatre program, take on three roles at once in the play with each character having different costumes. “Doing shows online in the past was difficult. I get to see and learn more about acting from my director and classmates about facial and body expressions,” Corachea said as she continued to speak about what her director will incorporate into Almost, Maine.
Adjunct professor of the art faculty, Angela Lessing says that after trying to incorporate interactive lessons in her Zoom classes during quarantine, she will have her students walk through the Cypress College art gallery for an exhibit that was previously held online, Hairtage Continuum, curated by Nzuji De Magãlhaes.
As told with her elaborate jewelry and tattoos, Lessing said that there is a difference with looking at artworks in person, rather than simply examining them online through a singular photograph. She said, “seeing the artwork not only puts it into perspective, but it also helps enlarge the conversation.”
Lessing taught multiple art history classes over the pandemic. “Projects are always at the center of these classes, but I think the goal for this semester is getting students to engage with one another. My overall goal for my class is to get students connected back with each other,” she said.
The music department is now at full force. Department head and trumpet icon Professor Gary Gopar excitedly spoke about the future performances that large audiences will be a part of. “We’re playing in December for something called the Investiture, so we’re going to play some jazz and funk for that,” Gopar said about the department’s plans to be a part of the new Cypress chancellor’s ceremony with around 300 people attending.
Gopar said that since instruments in classrooms are readily at hand, the past two years of rehearsing online and hosting Zoom performances “didn’t hold the same weight” of being face to face. With eccentric memorabilia that he cherishes in his office from his career and his students, Gopar said that hearing his classes speak positively about the lesson after it is over in the hallways allows for him to know he’s “on the right track.”
In spite of the difficulties of learning about the arts online over the past two years, the Fine Arts Department found success in learning lessons old and new about teaching its students in person for Fall 2022. Although much has changed, many students and professors in the Fine Arts Department enjoy the ability to be at full capacity and have genuine hands-on learning with the state of being interactive on campus to the highest extent.