On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Head of School, Nancy Spencer, welcomed Dr. Allen Root for a special visit to the Raymund Center and a personal tour of the recently renovated Root Family Fine Arts Gallery adjacent to the Janet Root Theatre.
The space, which served as offices during the construction of Charger Commons, has returned to its original intended purpose as a gallery to showcase visual arts. The redesign was thanks to Charla Gaglio, Chair of the Visual Arts Department, and Jon Hoefer, Creative Director.
A rededication in May 2022 established the space as the new home of the Janet Root Award for Excellence in Visual Arts. This award is given annually to recognize a Shorecrest Upper School student who has demonstrated the highest standards of dedication and achievement through their work in the visual arts during their time at Shorecrest. The artwork of the immediate-past award recipient will be displayed in the Root Family Fine Arts Gallery each year for all to enjoy. A collection from Heidi Hicks ‘21 is currently on display.
Janet Root H’16 began her service of the Shorecrest community as a parent volunteer in 1978. Her knowledge and appreciation of the visual and performing arts, combined with her unmatched work ethic, led to an invitation to Chair the Arts and Humanities Department from then-Head of School Mary Booker. Janet remained in the position for decades, but refused to accept any compensation. Janet was elected to the Shorecrest Board of Trustees in 1981. In 1984 the Shorecrest Parent Association, now the Shorecrest Community Association, created the Janet Root Volunteer Service Award to recognize exceptional parents who model Janet’s spirit of volunteerism.
As the School worked toward the opening of a new performing arts facility, the Shorecrest Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name it in honor of Janet. The 600+ seat Janet Root Theatre opened in 2002 with a stage size comparable to professional theatres, fantastic acoustics, real dressing rooms, good sightlines, and a black box rehearsal theatre on the side. The Janet Root Theatre represents the Root family’s collective desire for a performance space that matches the quality of the education and artistic opportunities offered at Shorecrest.
Janet was named a Lifetime Trustee in 2013 - only the second person in the School’s history to hold this distinction - and was given the first-ever honorary diploma at 2016 Commencement. Sadly, Janet passed away in 2016; she continues to be a part of daily life at Shorecrest.
The Root Family established the Janet G. Root State of the Arts Endowment in 2015, the Janet Root Award for Excellence in Visual Arts in 2017 and The Janet Root Circle of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2021.
At the rededication of the Root Family Fine Arts Gallery on May 18, 2022, on the threshold of the space, Dr. Root reminded Charla; Nancy; Michael Gillis, Director of Advancement, and all in attendance how auspiciously timed it was to be back at Shorecrest for the re-opening of the Root Family Fine Arts Gallery the day after Janet Root's birthday - with another wonderful way to remember her indelible time at the School.
In a final moment of reflection, a small circle formed near the beautiful portrait of Janet painted by Charla Gaglio. Dr. Root shared, “This space feels just right.”