The community appeal of visual and performing arts at St Peters

The St Peters Visual Arts and Performing Arts review (VAPAr) has been going for over 15 years and is one of the flagship events for the Arts. Ms Julie Seidel, The Arts Curriculum Leader at St Peters, says, “VAPAr is about the visual arts and the performing arts all coming together.” It also brings the curriculum elements students experience in their individual course into a public forum. In many cases this provides cross arts for students to reflect on multiple relationships between art and life, art and the public sphere.  

It’s rewarding to see students “have embraced the centrality of the arts in their education,” explains Julie. “Parents are supportive and understand this is equipping their child for life beyond school—making creative individuals and it’s become a seamless part of the culture of the school.”

“For the students it’s an important quality within their education and learning that they present and perform.”

The VAPAr night is spectacular—The artists talks are amazing because students reveal so much of what they have learnt and understood. “The music is always fabulous as performers need to step up and go that little bit further with the public nature of performing,” says Julie. “It’s always great to see the fashion as students tend to sit in their studios and be busy but we don’t often see their incredible products.” 

Drama is a culmination of many months of planning and work for students. This year the drama cast has been particularly dedicated. “One of the important things about drama here at the college is we offer students rigour and encourage them to step up to something more mature in content." 

That’s important because currently “students are engaged in what I call the ‘fast media’, or the fast-time space, or the ‘instant gratification’. With drama they respond to the idea of really investing in something. It’s fantastic but it’s about what they’re offered and how they’re mentored into that space.”

In all arts courses we model what is happening culturally in the real world for them. “They step up and that’s part of their success,” explains Julie. “Students understand the relevance and they’re actually motivated to try and achieve those high levels of understanding.”

“I’d like to thank all the people who come and support VAPAr as it’s the interaction and the audience that is the biggest element of why we really do it for the students.” 

To people who haven’t been to VAPAr before, “come and enjoy and support students, peers or family and spread the word so we can continue to keep it as a thriving event in the years ahead.”