FAMA begins with a study of signs

The new Fine Arts Magnet Academy (FAMA) at Pagosa Springs High School held its first quarterly master class last Friday afternoon.

Students from across the artistic disciplines were led in a discussion and practice of semiotics by Square Top Repertory Theatre’s producer/co-artistic director Charles M Pepiton. Semiotics is the philosophical study of sign systems that directly relates to our language, symbols and how meaning is derived from them.

After an interactive lecture and demonstration on semiotics, groups of five students created two to five minute scenes using “Kowzan’s Classification” of sign-systems for the theatre. The resulting scenes were filled with magic, humor, and thought-provoking material. In response to the four-hour class one student wrote, “Today I was able to open my mind to theatre … I discovered the variety of arts that may be expressed through acting, music, props, gestures, costume, lighting and sound effects.”

FAMA’s master classes provide unique opportunities for Pagosa’s high school students to engage with professional artists from a variety of disciplines. FAMA’s mission is to inspire and create pathways for success in the arts by encouraging creative problem-solving, quality production, and a holistic view of the relationships between artistic disciplines while preparing students for university fine arts programs or media- and arts-driven careers. Students in this program not only engage in quarterly master classes, but also create year-long independent projects that culminate in Spring productions, exhibitions, recitals and shows.

The funding for this and other FAMA events comes from community benefit concerts and a start-up grant from the Colorado Council on the Arts.

For more information about FAMA, e-mail rpepiton@pagosa.k12.co.us.