Marshall to wrap up 2017 Governor’s School for the Arts



More than 100 West Virginia students between their sophomore and junior years have been immersed in the Governor’s School for the Arts at Marshall University. The audition-based school began June 25 and will end July 15.

The school, which was initiated in 1994 by then-Gov. Gaston Caperton and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Marockie, now focuses on teaching exceptional high school students in the disciplines of dance, instrumental music, theatre, visual arts, vocal music, creative writing and digital media.

“Our theme this year is ‘Communities Collaborating Through the Arts,’ and that interconnectedness is something we hope that students will catch sight of,” Dreama Pritt, Governor’s School for the Arts associate dean and English instructor at Marshall, said. “By broadening the horizons of GSA students across all the artistic disciplines, we will be bringing them together.”

“It’s like a little artistic enclave with so many like-minded people, interacting in their arts and other arts,” Daniel Coffield, a creative writing student from Charleston Catholic High School, said. He said he hopes to major in creative writing, physics or astronomy in the future.David Snider, a digital media arts student from Parkersburg High School, echoed sentiments of inclusivity. “The camaraderie amazes me every day, being with other artists and the bonding that I’ve experienced with everyone here,” he said. Snider said he has plans to study software engineering at Duke.Last fall, high school sophomores applied to be accepted and then were selected following statewide auditions in January. According to the 2017 goals, the school aims to develop stronger artists, empower students with collaborative skills, and introduce students to strategies that employ the arts to positively influence communities.

“This artistic experience shows how you can integrate the arts into everyday careers,” Manavi Anantula, a Morgantown High School junior studying instrumental music, said. She said she will study piano performance in college.

​“Marc Harshman, West Virginia’s poet laureate, told me recently that ‘GSA is the best thing the state of West Virginia does,’ and I think he is right,” Pritt said. “The arts raise us up.”

Currently hosting the Governor’s School for the Arts for the third time, Marshall will be the location for the school again in 2018 and 2019.

Visit the Governor’s School for the Arts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at the handle @wvgsa2017.

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Photos: (Above left) Zoe Smith, a junior at Washington High School in Jefferson County, said her favorite part about the school “is experiencing and learning about the different arts through the interdisciplinary aspect.”  (Above right) Instructor Sassa Wilkes, a Marshall alumna, teaches Governor’s School for the Arts students in Studio Art. (Below, from left) Tia Walkup, Nathan Cubellis and Anna Lynch perform during the Governor’s School for the Arts. Photos of the Governor’s School for the Arts by Aaron Kuhn, WVGSA Documentation Staff.