South alums continue to pursue art, expand artistic horizons


South alum Sarah Kim creates portraits during her classes at Parsons University, where she is currently a freshman majoring in Communication Design

Yoon Kim, co a&e editor

Whether it was during a play, musical, or Comedy Sportz show, South alum Jordan Zelvin could always be found under the spotlight on the auditorium stage at South. Two and a half years and 368 miles later, Zelvin can be found on a stage at Denison University continuing this same passion, as she is currently a sophomore double-majoring in Theatre and Educational Studies.

Zelvin says that, initially, she had not necessarily visited Denison with the intention of majoring in theatre but had simply followed her sister, who was visiting schools at the time. According to Zelvin, she was immediately drawn to the theatre museum at Denison due to her theatre involvement at South and ultimately found the place and people she wanted to be with for the next few years of her life.

“I ended up spending four hours in the theatre museum with the chairman of the theatre department because he took four hours out of his day just to give me a proper tour of all the resources on campus,” Zelvin said. “The fact that this faculty member took time out of his super busy schedule to meet with me and share with me all of the things that he loved about this program really sealed the deal for me, and I knew that those were the kinds of people I wanted to surround myself with.”

Similar to Zelvin, Sarah Kim is a fellow South alum who has chosen to pursue the arts after having graduated high school. Kim, GBS Class of 2018, is currently a freshman at the Parsons School of Design and is majoring in Communication Design. According to Kim, her experience as a design editor on the GBS Etruscan and experience in the graphic design electives at South played a major role in her college decision and gave her exposure to softwares used in the curriculum at Parsons.

“When I became a design editor [for yearbook], I started getting into yearbook seriously,” Kim said. “When I stayed behind to do layouts and tried to meet deadlines, I could imagine myself doing it professionally, so I decided to pursue it. Through yearbook, I became really comfortable with using [Adobe] Indesign. I noticed that most people in my classes [don’t] come in with the experience of using Adobe Suite programs, so I [was] more comfortable in that sense.”

Kim says that her experience at Parsons has differed from South in that the learning environment is more student-led. According to Kim, the fact that every student in the class is interested in pursuing art changes the classroom dynamic.

“Here, it’s not like a traditional classroom,” Kim said. “At South, it’s the teacher leading the class, but here it’s more like the students leading the class because we’re critiquing each other’s work [and] we’re sharing ideas. It’s just a group of people that are here for the same reason [and] they’re all passionate about art.”

Zelvin says that studying theatre at Denison has introduced her to applied theatre, which, according to Zelvin, is a form of theatre that is used “as a means to understand, process, or create some sort of healing in the world.” According to Zelvin, she is currently hoping to attend graduate school after her time at Denison to study drama therapy, a form of applied theatre.

“Drama therapy is meaningful to me because it focuses on experiences and activates a kind of catharsis traditional therapy could never achieve,” Zelvin said. “I think it is a wonderful way to reach people and help them work through their traumas, tell their story and solve their problems. Helping people and theatre are my two passions, [and] drama therapy combines both.”

Additionally, Zelvin says that her experience in the theatre department at Denison has provided her with a more expansive artistic skill set and allowed her to experience a variety of new styles. According to Zelvin, one of her most memorable moments in the theatre department at Denison was the final project for her Theatre 195 class her freshman year, where students were split up into several groups and tasked with creating a piece of theatre based off of one limited sheet of dialogue.

“It was so interesting and truly inspiring to see how each group interpreted it differently,” Zelvin said. “Every single project was completely different and every single project was something that brought me to tears or made me crack up so hard that I was crying, and everything made me feel something.  At that moment, I just felt like, ‘Wow, this is what collegiate theatre is all about.’”