‘Daydreaming’ at the 2024 All-School Arts Festival

The annual All-School Arts Festival on Stamper Commons is one of Colorado Academy’s most beloved spring traditions—right up there next to Giant Relay Day and Commencement—and this year, participants were encouraged to slow down and take a moment to appreciate the unique connection between art and community that it always inspires.

The theme for 2024, “Daydream,” was intended to nurture an introspective mood, according to Director of Visual & Performing Arts Katy Wood Hills. “We hoped to disrupt the routine of day-to-day school life with an opportunity to be present with each other, explore the subconscious, and savor the process of art-making.”

Along with Senior Portfolio artists Hailey Krueger and Yaris MontesDeOca-Desiderio, Hills managed the collaboration on a large mural to which anyone could make contributions in paint. The project underscored the mantra that guides the festival each year: “Everyone is an artist.”

“Over the years the festival has evolved to emphasize process and the pure joy of art-making,” explains studio and digital art instructor Stashia Taylor. “We try to present new and imaginative ways of making that embrace experimentation and collaboration.”

The striking “Tunnel O’ Color” was a prime example of that approach. Students could use yarn, ribbon, colored cellophane, and other materials to construct a vibrant passageway that invited participants to view the world differently.

Nearby, artists found space for a creative reset at the “Zen Zone,” where sand-filled pools encouraged experimentation with calming shapes, patterns, and textures. And over at the “Tinker Art” area, creators could use chalk markers to trace mesmerizing circles and swirls on rotating platters. “Art should be joyful,” insists ceramics and 3D visual art instructor Alecia Maher.

The popular “Bubble It Up” activity provided buckets and trays of soap solution so that students could make floating shapes that caught the sunlight. Like the “Tunnel O’ Color,” the interactive soap bubbles offered “a whimsical way to create art by exploring color and light,” says photography instructor Karen Donald. 

Lower School art instructor Elizabeth Delap was eager to help younger artists manage their bubble efforts, explaining, “Creativity is accessible in so many forms—we want students to ease into art and make it their own.”

Throughout the All-School Arts Festival, music was a constant source of inspiration. Ceramics instructor and DJ Becci Marzonie kept vintage tunes from the 1960s and 1970s spinning nonstop on Stamper Commons, and on two evenings, the Upper School Concert and Lower and Middle School Concert entertained audiences in the Leach Center for the Performing Arts.

This year, three days of all-school art-making and music proved yet again that at CA, the arts and the ways they allow us to celebrate each other are truly valued.