All about HFI’s Fine Arts Week：
Beloved drama teacher Mike shares insights
Up close with one of the core teachers involved in Fine Arts Week (FAW), Michael Ludwick! Michael (usually called Mike by students) is an American educator, entertainer, singer, songwriter, actor and entrepreneur. He has been working atHFI since 2019 and played the main role in initiating the first FAW last year. Let’s join Ariane Hai and Annie He to see what he has to say about the second annual FAW.
Ariane: What’s the purpose of FAW? What are students able to experience?
First of all, we want an inclusive stage that gives all students an opportunity to share their talents in the fine or performing arts. We know some students have this opportunity in clubs or classes, but not all do, so one of the key components to FAW is opening up the stage to these students and letting them have some ability to participate. Also, we want to support the curriculum classes, so giving the dance and drama classes a chance to perform is a big part. Furthermore, another stage can improve the general environment for people to get involved; we hope that FAW is an annual event that is looked forwarded to to every year in spring, since HFI already has events such as HFI Voice in fall and winter.
Ariane: The theme this year is Generation Z. Why was this chosen as a topic, and is there anything you’d like to share about it?
The funny thing is that in fact, all students are Gen Z. Whatever you do is Gen Z, and it’s like creating the theme while participating. This sort of improvisation is really interesting, and you can also throwback to anything from your childhood, such as having cell phones since birth and having daily interaction with social media. I hope this is a fun theme for all of you, and it’s open to lots of different interpretation.
Ariane: What kind of effect do you hope FAW brings?
I hope it’s annual and iconic, and that it gives everyone something to look forward to, plan for, and be excited about. It’s a gathering point for all art. As a drama teacher, I’ve always had a strong belief that being involved in arts just makes your life better. It helps you understand yourself more, connect to others, express emotions, and engage in a more meaningful way of life. The only thing we need to do to be successful is to come together in an honest, earnest, and meaningful way, and try to celebrate the fine and performing arts, which although not necessarily easy, is actually a quite simple concept.
Annie: What do you think of the activities that are already in progress?
It’s all about the process and what it feels like for those participating. I don’t see myself as one who is judging based on pieces or a director but a cheerleader, negotiator, and a representative to ask for support from the school. FAW is all about student generated passion, and students have been motivated on their own to do these great things. Students have very high expectations; sometimes they exceed, but sometimes they fall low, and this is ok. What’s important is having fun and being thoughtful and kind. Just a while ago I told the Drama class the important thing is to focus on others and do something nice for the audience. It’s to give the audience something, to share happiness, and you don’t need to worry about yourself and give yourself pressure in a pursuit for perfection. Whatever we do is so beautiful, and the process has been so pure.
Annie: What do you think is the biggest difference between FAW this year and FAW last year?
It has really been an evolution. Structurally, looking at both, there isn’t a big difference—both are basically student groups, classes, and individuals contributing to live shows, the art exhibit, and the final performance. However, every single category now has a little bit more, an extra something. Students have taken what was done last year, preserved the main idea and made it a tiny bit better. To me, the key is the structural part remaining a tradition while specific content changes with each new group and new people leading it. I hope in ten or twenty years FAW has the same basic structure, but the way it’s being expressed can grow and evolve and fit students.
Content proposer: Ivy Tan
Writer: Yiyi Tu
Interviewers: Annie He and Ariane Hai