S(art)urday On the Circle


Noemi Iwasaki’22 for The Circle Voice

With overwhelming stress bombarding the lives of Groton students, Saturday nights are one of the few times when the student body has a chance to relax and enjoy the vitality of the Circle. The dances and games that the SAC typically organized on Saturday nights have recently been complemented by two art additions: the return of Open Mics and the new Saturday Studio Night, a concept created by Ms. Donovan. These new art-focused activities have brought joy, calm, and unity to many students.


Open Mic is a cherished Groton tradition, in which students convene in Gammons to hear classmates perform songs, recite poetry, and do a little bit of everything in between. Unfortunately, last year, due to the Covid-19 risks of airborne transmission via singing, Groton was only able to hold one Open Mic at the end of the spring term. Thus, lots of hard work and dedication was required from the music prefects and faculty to get Open Mic up and running early in the term on Oct. 2.


Though this recent Open Mic was outdoors in the cold with poor acoustics, a robust, enthusiastic crowd nevertheless gathered together on the picnic tables. Performer Joon Whang ’23 noted that the outdoor area still fostered “the sense of a tight-knit and intimate community.” This Open Mic featured poetry, several musical pieces of varying genres, as well as some comical performances, such as Joon’s rendition of Britney Spears’ “Oops!…I did it again,” complete with interpretive dance moves and an outfit change halfway through. The chill environment, overwhelming talent, and laughs of Open Mic brought joy to the Circle.


As a new addition, Ms. Donovan has begun supplying art materials, her instruction, and a good time to students during her Saturday Night Studios. Her open studio offers an environment for kids to swing by, make art, and socialize. Ms. Donovan emphasizes this laid-back environment: “It isn’t a thing for them to be stressed about because I’m not giving grades,” she said. She tries to appeal to all, whether they are “boys or girls, and even if they’re not in art class or experts.”


The first meeting focused on block prints, including carving, printing, and working with all the tools and the positive-negative space concept associated with block prints. The second medium was friendship bracelets, which Ms. Donovan envisioned as a nostalgic “summertime” activity. The third gathering experimented with spray-painting and graffiti, an idea she thought would tie in well with that weekend’s silent disco. The most recent gathering was Halloween-themed pumpkin carving, and the finished products can be seen displayed on the Schoolhouse steps.


In general, Ms. Donovan wants these activities to “make it feel like art is accessible to students.” She picks things “kids will be interested in, but are also an easy, quick thing that touches different kinds of media” to inspire engagement.


These Saturday night activities provide a welcome break from the fast-paced life at Groton: an opportunity to hit the gas, look around, and enjoy what is happening. Students can show off talents or explore their capabilities, all in a relaxing environment that helps them learn more about themselves and art with their classmates.