Q&A with Indian Hill Arts and Activities Director Amy Clark

NEWS RELEASE: Heather Higdon, Director of Communications

INDIAN HILL, OH (April 19, 2022) – This was the debut year for Arts and Activities Director Amy Clark with the Indian Hill School District.

Indian Hill Arts and Activities Director Amy Clark takes a moment at the end of class to visit with the Indian Hill High School Premieres Choir. (Provided)

She has shined the spotlight week after week on all things arts the Indian Hill School District offers K-12 students. From our nationally recognized music program – with over 400 participants in our orchestra, choirs, and band –  to our award-winning visual arts program, our opportunities within the arts are unparalleled.

We sat down with Amy for a Q&A to learn more about all that makes our arts uniquely Indian Hill, and we started by focusing on our new #IHPromise strategic plan.

Indian Hill School District (IHSD): Within our K-12 arts program, how do we develop Learners as Doers, Learners as Individuals, and Learners as the Whole Child?

Amy Clark (AC): These statements are a mainstay for every artist, visual and musical. They are ingrained in what educators do each day, especially when thinking about an upcoming lesson. The tactile nature of the arts – drawing and painting, playing an instrument, the undertaking of making music with your voice – is a seamless fit into our goals of developing Learners as Doers. When our students engage in the creative process, they are truly doing the work of learning. Participating in the arts allows our students to dig deeply into being a Learner as an Individual, examining who they are and discovering what they care about as an artist. That focus they unearth is nurtured by our educators. Our educators focus on Learners as the Whole Child by helping our students overcome performance anxiety or the fear of having a piece of art judged. They learn how to persevere when things don’t go as planned, how to improvise at a moment’s notice, and how to work with those around them in order to accomplish a common goal. Developing this confidence can serve to better prepare our students for other aspects of life, such as interviewing for a job.

IHSD: What is the one thing you want all stakeholders to know about the arts at the Indian Hill School District?

AC: The arts at Indian Hill truly are unparalleled. From receiving the distinction of “Best Communities for Music Education” eight years in a row (and counting), to our comprehensive and flourishing visual and digital arts offerings throughout our schools, Indian Hill values the arts, and it is evident in the classroom every day. Our students are given the opportunity to explore their creative side, and often find a passion they didn’t know they had. That enthusiasm is cultivated by the finest educators who care about the whole child, and they help our students grow and flourish. Indian Hill sets our students up for success in a way that is fueled by a joy and understanding of their craft. The awards that a student receives are a way for those outside of our community to learn about the amazing things that happen here daily, but our school goes beyond that. Those awards aren’t why our students do what they do – they create magic because they love it. That intrinsic reward is what I am grateful to the Indian Hill School District for creating within all our students.

IHSD: What was a standout moment for you this school year? 

AC: This is such an impossible question! It could be anything from watching our primary and elementary students and teachers rethink what a concert or art show looks like for this year (which still had COVID protocols in place early on), to seeing our middle school students’ artwork displayed at the Blue Ash Recreation Center, and the skill and talent that was on display during the high school art show, or the awards and accolades all of our student-artists (visual, digital, and musical) have received throughout the year. I don’t know if I can choose just one. 

If I must choose one though, I think what showcased a large portion of our students at the same time was the Indian Hill High School winter production of Les Misérables. The production was massive! There were almost 100 students involved on stage, in the pit, and backstage. Students were able to create their own interpretation of characters that are so well-known, and did so with skill and excitement. They performed extremely difficult music, vocally and instrumentally, and allowed the audience to experience one of the most technically difficult shows flawlessly. It was truly impressive. Every person performed their role for the benefit of each other, and for the audience, and I was truly moved to have witnessed the family that was created as a result.

IHSD: Anything else you want to add?

AC: As I reflect on my first year as a member of the Indian Hill School District community, I am in awe every day of our students, our staff, our parents, and our administrative team. Each person I encounter brings a happiness and pride in our school and in what they do that it is difficult for me to put into words. I have learned so much this past year, in the classroom, behind the scenes during a show, or seeing visual creations take shape from start to finish. I have never known a community that truly values the arts as our Indian Hill School District, and I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to share with everyone what takes place each day in the world of the arts.

Our students are truly talented, but what is more, they share those talents and gifts willingly with everyone around them. They are there for each other, supporting one another, and helping each other succeed. The students know that the sum of their individual parts is what makes the symphony a success, and they cheer one another on in the most genuine way.

I want to thank every person in our community for supporting the arts, for being there, for cheering, for enjoying what you see. I want to thank our students for always giving their best, our staff for their encouragement, and our administration for their support, and I can’t wait to share the arts with everyone again in the years to come!