Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Celebrate the Arts Week in Lower School

by Dr. Lisa Bianco, Head of Lower School
Throughout time there have been advocates encouraging students to study the arts for the development of important skills. The research on arts education tells us that the arts are good for students and that children are transformed through the arts. Without question, there are academic, social, and emotional benefits.

Arts education has a rich history at Shorecrest. Celebrate the Arts Week started about 30 years ago as a way to highlight the Upper School Performing Arts spring musical. It has become a time for the entire school to learn more about the arts, celebrate the artists inside each of us, share student work, and engage with artists in our community.

In the Lower School Shorecrest embraces the arts among “the many languages of children” – different forms of self expression and voice. Students’ natural inclinations are to tell stories, sing, move, pretend, explore, and play/work with various mediums to learn and create. During Celebrate the Arts Week, all Chargers are highlighted as visual, literary and performing artists.

This year to celebrate the arts in Lower School students enjoyed the following events, among others:

Second - fourth grade engaged in drum circles with Giving Tree Music. Ask your children to tell you about it. It was so much fun! The students played instruments guided by a guest musician. Some chose to also dance and sing. All children expressed themselves through individual instruments while simultaneously participating as part of the larger whole. The drum circle allowed the students to foster a deeper connection with each other through respect, teamwork, and understanding. Did you know drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system, produces feelings of well-being, and can even have a calming effect?

Some grades went on field experiences related to the arts. Third graders went on a downtown St. Pete mural tour, fourth grade went on an architectural tour of downtown, and second grade is going to Sunken Gardens.

Student artwork is on display throughout campus, and classes go on “gallery art walks” to view pieces from a variety of grade levels. LS student art being displayed includes:
  • Kindergarten stop motion animations: monitor in Gr 3/4 hallway
  • Grade 1 stop motion animations: monitor in K/1/2 hallway
  • Grade 2 monarch butterfly toys: LS gallery
  • Grade 3 stop motion animations and artwork from the movies: LS gallery
  • Grade 4 Kaleidoscope inspired designs: LS breezeway
  • Grade 4 photos of wood sculptures: LS office
Artist and arts educator, Melissa Mudd, from the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts, came to make clay bowls with first grade students and talk about useful objects that are also art. 

Author and Shorecrest parent Regina Nay presented to kindergarten and first grade students. Ms. Nay, a licensed mental health counselor and life coach, wrote “The Majeckles.” Her son, Wes, inspired her to write about their funny adventures. Regina specializes in children’s development and believes reading with your child to be an important bonding tool to enhance the relationship.

Shorecrest’s Creative Director, Jon Hoefer, joined fourth grade as a Celebrate the Arts Week guest artist. Jon has been a guest author and artist for CTA for many years. His two sons are Shorecrest alumni. He has written and illustrated several books, even collaborating with our former Headmaster, Mike Murphy. He read his most recent book, “Avery’s Gift,” a story of friendship, and asked the fourth graders to pay special attention to the symbolism in the story and illustrations. He also alluded to his inspiration for the story, a child of a friend who received a heart transplant. Find out more about this remarkable story at:

As a service project, the Chargers decorated gift bags in the style of the artist who illustrated the book, Milana Samarskaya. The bags will be donated with the book and other goodies inside to patients in children’s hospitals. 

Celebrate the Arts Week culminates in Upper School Performing Arts presenting the musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Performances are at 7:30pm on April 21-23. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. (This show is recommended for audiences in seventh grade and up.) Get tickets at:

Thank you to our visitors for sharing their time and talents with our Chargers!

Find more photos from LS Celebrate the Arts here.

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.