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Fine Arts Department welcomes Maranto

Mirroring Maranto:  Leading members in the Freshman and Sophomore Play rehearsal, Mark Maranto, Fine Arts instructional supervisor, provides his insight for the direction of the opening scene. One of Maranto’s goals in this new position is to integrate the added classes with existing traditions.

Yoon Kim

Mirroring Maranto: Leading members in the Freshman and Sophomore Play rehearsal, Mark Maranto, Fine Arts instructional supervisor, provides his insight for the direction of the opening scene. One of Maranto’s goals in this new position is to integrate the added classes with existing traditions.

Emma Morris, staff reporter

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Throughout his 12 years at South, Mark Maranto has had several roles in the school including English teacher, instructional coach and now instructional supervisor of the Fine Arts Department.

Before Marty Sirvatka, the previous Fine Arts instructional supervisor, retired last year, the Fine Arts Department consisted of music and art. Following Sirvatka’s departure, the department grew, welcoming broadcasting, photography, radio, TV and drama. Additionally, Maranto has stepped into the position, bringing a new point of view to fine arts integration.

“I think in a school as big as ours, there is always room for doing more,” Maranto said. “It’s not about changing for me, it’s about extending all of the great work that’s already happening here by providing some more new opportunities for students.”

According to Maranto, new changes have been implemented this year in the department, mainly due to the increase of classes included in it. Maranto also speaks  of his additional art experiences, explaining his career before teaching.

“My background before even becoming an English teacher 20 years ago was in theater,” Maranto explained. “I have a degree in acting, and then when I became an English teacher, I went back for my first masters in theater directing, and then I got my second masters in arts administration. So when [Sirvatka] was retiring, it was [in] my interest to be more involved in fine arts, so I applied for [the instructional supervisor position].”

For Choir Director Andrew Toniolo, Maranto’s new position is something to look forward to. According to Toniolo, prior to Maranto taking the position, the two had joked about working in the same department.

“We had like a ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if…’ discussion about if he became the Fine Arts Department chair after [Sirvatka] left,” Toniolo said. “We kinda laughed about it and left it there, and then here we are, it actually happened, so I’m super pumped to have him as a supervisor [and] as a boss.”

Maranto says that the main factor that made him want to be involved in the Fine Arts Department was the professionalism at South. All of the productions are taken to the next level, according to Maranto.

“I, as an outsider looking in, just thought it was thrilling to be a part of it,” Maranto said. “So I wanted to see more of what it’s like from the inside, and that’s what I’m getting the opportunity to do.”

According to Maranto, his goal for the department is to establish collaboration among the various art forms, which is going to be extended this year because of the new additions to the Fine Arts Department.

“What I’m interested in mostly in my first year is beginning discussions with my teachers on ways in which the arts can speak to one another and can start to collaborate,” Maranto said. “Those conversations are already starting to happen and it’s really exciting to hear, but it’s really based on what my teachers want to see going forward in terms of collaboration.”

According to Toniolo, there is a new motivation and sense of unity among teachers in the department, and that can be credited to Maranto.

“I think this year with not only the arrival of the new disciplines, but also the arrival of Mr. Maranto, we all kind of feel this reinvigoration of unity,” Toniolo said. “And with that reinvigoration of unity, I feel more motivated, and I feel like everybody else is kind of trying to figure this whole common thread thing out. Because, [for] a lot of us, [a] common thread is our students.”

According to Maranto, traditions at South are important in keeping the department strong and, therefore, the practices and legacies that Sirvatka established is a priority.

“One of the things that [Sirvatka] did really well in his tenure was establishing new programs, new groups and just building, building, building,” Maranto said.

According to junior Erin Kirby, traditions are some of the most valuable parts of the Fine Arts Department.

“I definitely think that keeping traditions is really, really essential because […] the entire department is based off of [traditions],” Kirby said.

According to Maranto, GBS is extremely fortunate to have support from the administration. As he explains, this helps bring excellence to the fine arts programs.

“At my previous high school, there were strong arts programs, but I feel like the piece that was lacking there was that often times, those teachers and those kids were working in spite of the administration,” Maranto said. “Here we have tremendous support from the administration financially and [they are] just appreciative. They get what we do.”

According to Maranto, the future of the Fine Arts Department is in his hands, and after training with Sirvatka over the summer, Maranto is confident.

“Traditions have been in place here long before I came and they’ll be in place long after I leave, but I really feel like I am the steward of the arts program here,” Maranto said. “It’s my job to make sure that [the arts program] continues to thrive and grow, and I’m really excited to see the ways in which that’s going to happen.”

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Fine Arts Department welcomes Maranto