Faith & Service
At Mount St. Mary Academy, creativity and self-expression flourish, allowing each young woman to “find her own voice.” The arts at Mount further develop this sense of fearless exploration and confidence. Students participating in the arts are encouraged to use their gifts and talents to glorify God and connect with others. Teaching 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity, the arts extend their reach to all areas of learning at the school. Whether performing a monologue for the school play, a cardboard relief of a female role model, or even a class research paper, students learn to let their lights shine through the arts!
"The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a by-product. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.” – Dana Gioia, American poet and essayist
The Visual Arts Department at Mount St. Mary Academy is dedicated to nurturing students' visual literacy by focusing on problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Art courses focus on classical techniques and technical skill building while also allowing students to explore and develop their individual artistic style. Students study various techniques of observational drawing and painting, printmaking, sculpture, pottery, textile arts, and digital design. The goal of the Visual Arts Department is to prepare all art students, beginning in Studio Art I, as if they are continuing on to AP portfolio their senior year while also tailoring the curriculum to individual student needs. We encourage experimentation, discovery, and risk taking, giving students the space to arrive at their own solutions.
Students have many opportunities within the Visual Arts Department to display works of art, including the annual Arkansas Young Artist Association Competition and the school's year-end Arts Night in the spring, which features work from students in all of Mount St. Mary Academy's art courses.
The Music Department offers two choral ensembles, the Concert Belles and the Harmony Belles, and classes delivering guitar and piano instruction. Each year the school hosts two student performances – a Christmas Concert and a Spring Concert. Additionally, students from the music department perform at all-school Masses and assemblies throughout the year.
The Concert Belles is a select vocal ensemble under the direction of Chelsea Allman. The ensemble sings a variety of choral repertoire and is well-known throughout the Central Arkansas region. The group regularly participates in a variety of community concerts and has performed with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Arkansas in the Nutcracker since 1997. The Concert Belles ensemble also sings for the Arkansas Choral Performance Assessment every year, where the group consistently receives superior ratings, as well as the All-Region and All-State Choir events.
All Mount St. Mary Academy students have the chance to develop musical, acting, and technical abilities in our active Theatre Department. Open to all students interested in theatre, the annual all-school musical regularly enlists the theatrical talents of over 100 students from Mount St. Mary Academy and Catholic High School each year who make up the cast and crew who create all the magic of the stage by bringing characters to life and designing and building costumes, sets, and props. Performances have included shows such as Annie, Disney's The Little Mermaid, James and the Giant Peach, Little Women, Once Upon a Mattress, The Addams Family, Sister Act, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Shop of Horrors, and Nunsense. In addition to the musical, the department also produces one-acts and full-length plays.
The theatre curriculum at Mount St. Mary Academy offers students the opportunity to study the art of theatre, its history and technical elements, as well as participate in public performances. Families and neighboring schools are invited to Mount St. Mary Academy for the Theatre Department’s productions throughout the school year, and in the spring the MSM Comedy Company performs at a number of local elementary schools.
Mount St. Mary Academy's Troupe #8462 of the International Thespian Society inducts students each year to recognize, reward, and encourage student achievement, and it celebrates the work of students in all aspects of theatre – performance and production. Each student is honored on a national level and gains access to opportunities and resources beyond those of the school. The Troupe attends the Arkansas Thespian Festival to perform, attend workshops to grow both on and off the stage, and compete for scholarships. The group has won Best in Show and had students qualify for and attend the International Thespian Festival. Additionally, its one-acts have earned superior status, showcased at Festival, and received recognition for Best Ensemble and Best Student Playwright.
Mount St. Mary Academy's Forensics Team, where the art of communication and performance meets the thrill of competition, is not just about speeches and theatre. While the Forensics: Speech Performance class is the introduction to other theatre classes, it also allows students to delve into the nuances of public speaking, acting, and interpretation, honing skills that transcend the stage and resonate in everyday life. From persuasive orations that sway hearts to dramatic interpretations that evoke emotions, the school's team thrives on diversity and embraces a spectrum of events – original oratory, impromptu speaking, humorous and dramatic interpretation, and more – allowing members to find their unique voice and showcase their talent.
The Forensics Team fosters a community of support and camaraderie, where collaboration and encouragement reign supreme. Members become mentors and friends, cultivating an environment that nurtures growth and excellence. The group competes across the state and consistently qualifies for the Arkansas State Championship. In fact, its captain was recently named the state champion in humorous interpretation! Participants may also earn membership to the National Speech and Debate Association, a communication honor society.