The heads of the arts department look for experience and talent in students applying for admission.
When recruiting for the arts department, the Admissions Office encourages prospective students to send in their portfolio and other previous work to be reviewed.
John Reese, fine arts teacher and director of theater explained, “You look for genuine interest in the art. It is not hard to train a novice actor who is committed and determined to succeed.”
Some of the current theater recruits are Aaron Cyr-Mutty ’11, Jem Wilner ’11, Sarah Woolf ’12, and Thomas Shuman ’13, who all demonstrated interest in theater in their applications.
Mr. Reese directs theater productions with these four students, but he also casts students who have never before set foot on stage.
“There should be an opportunity for anyone at Deerfield to improve their area of art, regardless of their experience,” added Music Director Dan Roihl.
Depending on the department of the arts one is interested in and the year one applies to Deerfield, the process can also be extremely competitive.
“Since 2004, the number of portfolios sent to the visual arts increased exponentially,” said art teacher David Dickinson. Over the past three years, Mr. Dickinson has reviewed anywhere from fifty to seventy portfolios of both international and domestic prospective candidates, and only about three to seven of those portfolios received noteworthy recognition, including those of Sonja Holmberg ’11, Grace Murphy ’11, and Laura Whitehill ’12.
In addtion, the Deerfield arts requirements are particularly modest, so the popularity of the department stems mainly from current student interest, rather than from recruits.
“There are many students admitted to Deerfield who are extremely enthusiastic about the arts, and the talent level is remarkably high,” commented art teacher Timothy Trelease.
Academic Dean and music teacher Peter Warsaw explained, “The river must keep supplying fresh talent; the experienced must show the way for the less experienced.”