When Director of Visual and Performing Arts Matt Neylon came to Mount Vernon in 2015 he had one main goal in mind: help build the most innovative arts program in the country. This year, as MV Arts transforms to MV Studios, that goal is becoming a nationally-recognized reality.
In a release by the Art School Network, Mount Vernon was awarded the 2021 Arts Innovation Award.
The release shared, “Designed to recognize schools committed to taking innovative artistic risks, this award is presented to a school that has “broken the mold” in using the arts as a vehicle for teaching academics and/or making a positive difference in the lives of students and/or the community.”
Posted specifically for Mount Vernon, “At The Mount Vernon School, students and teachers are designing a better world through innovative arts projects that connect them with the real world in three unique ways.”
1. The ability to achieve mental and physical wellness through mindfulness, yoga, tactile art, and projects that explore identity and emotion at every grade level.
2. Illuminating diverse narratives through writing original scripts, performing thought provoking world premieres, working with a diverse set of professional artists, songwriting, recording, and filmmaking.
3. Connecting with the creative industry by exploring emerging fields such as virtual/augmented reality, user experience design, industrial design, music industry, and multimedia showcases. Innovation is not just about technology, it’s about the ways we connect disparate disciplines, solve complex problems, mobilize groups for social impact, and connect foundational skills with future-focused studio environments.
The Arts School Network is a non-profit association that provides arts school leaders, innovative partners, and members of arts education with quality resources, support, and networking opportunities.
As we celebrate this monumental recognition of MV Studios (previously known as MV Arts), it isn’t the first time in the last year that the School’s arts programming has been nationally and globally recognized.
In the fall of 2021, the MV Allstars – the Upper School performing artists – performed their own interpretation of The Tempest.
Like most MV Allstars productions, The Tempest was unlike any other that had come before it at Mount Vernon, with audio pre-recorded and all actors in masks.
Following the showing, the MV Allstars thespian troupe 7702 was chosen to be part of the Georgia Thespian Virtual Conference as a Chapter Select Showcase. Their production was presented for thousands of Georgia theater educators, professionals, and students.
Additionally, they were nominated for and selected to represent the state with the American High School Theatre Festival at the world’s largest festival, The International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh Scotland in 2022.
Heading into the 2021 summer, MV’s performance of The Tempest was also chosen to be one of 13 productions showcased as a Mainstage performance in the 2021 Virtual International Thespian Festival.
In the judges’ notes, they referred to the production as “magical and clever.” Also sharing that, “It is apparent from their interactions as characters that these students are fully invested in this production, their characters, and the ensemble. Such commitment helps to strengthen the storytelling. It was a beautiful use of ensemble at the end of the show for a full company mask reveal, as well.”
Just as they have in the past, MV Studios as a whole will continue to shine and push the limits of arts education in schools heading into the 2021-2022 year, and we can’t wait to see what they produce next.