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New Trier Fine Arts Association Funds Grants Benefiting Fine Arts Students

Photo caption information: New Trier's Varsity Voices rehearses a new choral arrangement of Al Jarreau's "Never Givin' Up," commissioned from composer Kerry Marsh through a grant from the New Trier Fine Arts Association.

(Winnetka - May 10, 2021) Despite the pandemic, students at New Trier have had the opportunity to participate in elevated fine arts experiences involving virtual and socially distanced workshops with a Broadway performer and professional painters, composers, musicians, dancers, actors and costume designers from around the country and the world, as well as online debate tournaments and film festivals, thanks to grants from the New Trier Fine Arts Association (NTFAA).

All told, the NTFAA approved $19,000 in grants to benefit the 1,950 students who take at least one class per day in Art, Dance, Music, Theatre, Media and Debate at New Trier High School.

According to Emily Marshall, President of the New Trier Fine Arts Association (NTFAA), "The New Trier Fine Arts Association is proud to have supported the student experience in the arts at New Trier throughout the pandemic, as teachers have identified remote and hybrid learning opportunities to benefit the students. The NTFAA is grateful for the creativity and hard work of New Trier's teachers and administrators as they have kept students engaged in the arts during this challenging school year."

The following is a sample of some of the grants awarded by the NTFAA for the 2020-2021 school year:


  • Multi-media glass artist Joseph Ivacic talked with students about the ways in which he pushes the boundaries of how glass is used in contemporary art.
  • Pothole mosaic artist Jim Bachor hosted a three-part series for students on "Leaving Your Mark," involving his effort to fill potholes with mosaics of images and often words.
  • Painter / mixed media artist and New Trier alumna Nicole Gordon, who paints stunning surreal landscapes, hosted conversations with students.
  • Noted illustrator and New Trier alumna Lucy Engelman engaged in a Zoom class visit, bringing her fascination with the natural world to life for students.


  • New Trier alum and professional dancer and choreographer Stephen Blood brought his considerable skills to Kinesis Dance Company this year.
  • New Trier alum and rising Broadway star Nikhil Saboo taught Broadway style movement from Hamilton and Mean Girls .
  • Juntos Dance Collective's Nestor Rodriguez from Guatemala taught Salsa, Bachata, and Kizomba, focusing on unique steps, tempos and rhythms.
  • Popular dancer from London Bismark taught Hip Hop, and professional dancer Drew Lewis taught modern technique and improvisation.


  • Vocal jazz students were immersed in a study of Al Jarreau, including a commission by Kerry Marsh to compose a choral arrangement of Jarreau's "Never Givin' Up."
  • Students in wind ensembles had a conversation with composer, Michael Markowski, and masterclasses with woodwind professors from the University of Wisconsin.
  • A masterclass with vocal trio Artemisia explored the power of the female voice to tell stories through vocal traditions of the world.
  • Jamaican-American composer Joel Thompson, who wrote "The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed" after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., spoke with students about his compositions and their social impact.


  • New Trier alumna and celebrated voice actor Rachel Slotky presented a masterclass and Q&A session in voice production and voice-over work in preparation for the radio show production of "It's a Wonderful Life.
  • A three-week master class with professional costume designer Emily Arnold Daugherty focused on "A Raising in the Sun," in which students created mood boards and a "look" for one of the play's characters
  • A Kabuki Master Class taught by DePaul University Adjunct Professor George Keating brought elements of the ancient art of Kabuki to students.
  • New Trier and Yale School of Drama graduate Maeli Goren worked with students as they adapted journalistic source material into scripts as part of a study of documentary


  • The NTFAA helped to sponsor New Trier's Trevian Debate Tournament , which was held remotely for 500 participants from all over the U.S.
  • The NTFAA provided a grant for students to participate in the All AmericanHigh School Film Festival , in which two New Trier students won first place in the "Show, Don't Tell Challenge."


  • The NTFAA provided a grant for students to participate in the All American High School Film Festival, in which two New Trier students won first place in the "Show, Don't Tell Challenge."

Founded in 1976, the New Trier Fine Arts Association (NTFAA) is a non-profit parent organization dedicated to promoting and enhancing the student experience in the Fine Arts at New Trier High School and building community among Fine Arts families. With more than 30 parent members, the NTFAA provides grants to art dance, music, theatre, debate and media classes to fund visiting artists, workshops and annual arts events, offers Summer Scholarships to continuing Fine Arts students to pursue their studies through the summer months, and provides confidential student financial assistance and support, allowing students with financial needs to participate in school-sponsored trips and excursions that would otherwise prove cost-prohibitive.