The Arts – Improvise, adapt, overcome. This is at the heart of the Arts.

‘In order for the brain to comprehend, the heart must first listen.’

David Perkins (Project Zero)

Creativity thrills the viewer, excites the senses and touches perception. When we stumble out of a performance or exhibition, reeling with possibility, it is often not the mastery of skill that holds us enthralled, but the magic; the intimacy, the innovation; the exploration of the unknown; a compilation of the familiar in a novel and new way.

It is those that realise the connection between the arts and the effective study of science, mathematics, and language, that are best placed to evolve our thinking and make better doctors, lawyers, footballers, journalists, engineers, programmers and educators. For many, secondary school will be their last opportunity to explore this artistic part of their consciousness, to unlock the parts of the brain that hold the secrets to innovation. Not all will go on to be gallery filling artists, not all will beat the boards on Broadway, not all will float as one with the philharmonic, but we all need this.

In this century’s greatest time of need we revere our innovators more than ever. Technical innovations through rapid software development; retail innovation through creative hands-off marketing and sales; social creative outpouring through Zoom, Microsoft Teams and alike.

Breweries becoming hand sanitizer saviours.

Big name labels making high-end medical masks.

Virtual becoming the new real.

St Leonard’s College understands how life worthy and important the arts are to its vibrancy in the community, and most importantly, to the development of their students in a world that is becoming more creative; more interconnected each year. Our students are known, nurtured and loved and now need the arts and creativity more than ever to help them navigate through these uncertain times and equip them to deal with whatever else may be thrust upon them in the coming months and years. Creativity, interpretation, innovation and cultural understanding are all sought-after skills for new and emerging industries of the 21st century. Arts education provides students with the tools to develop these skills. (Garrett, 2009) The world needs innovative, and confident thinkers and as you witness the resilience and grit shown by our students as they tackle the practical subjects in these difficult times you feel that our future is in remarkably skilled hands and community-minded heads.

Barbara Jordan, was the first African American to come from the Deep South and the first woman ever to be elected to the Texas Senate at the height of the civil rights movement. Her words still resonate across the globe:

‘The arts are not a frill. The arts are a response to our individuality and our nature and help shape our identity. What is there that can transcend deep difference and stubborn division? The arts. They have a wonderful universality. Art has the potential to unify. It can speak in many languages without a translator. The arts do not discriminate. The arts lift us up.’

Barbara Jordan



Middle years students have embraced the online learning environment and are currently creating Silent movies in year 7. Home News Network reports are being developed in year 8 whilst year 10 students are devising and utilising existing monologues using naturalistic acting techniques.

VCE Theatre students are preparing for their unit 3 performance of scenes from ‘Ruby Moon’ by Matt Cameron, VCE Drama students are creating comedy gold performing a series of characters who are also stuck in Lockdown, whilst IB12 students are creating highly innovative solo pieces for their external assessment. Unfortunately, the Hart Theatre Company was forced to cancel the Middle School production of ‘Twelfth Night’ but hopefully many students auditioned for the Middle School Musical, ‘High School Musical’ and the cast list has now been posted. This will be the first production to take place in our new Leonardian Centre. Private Speech and Drama students across the College have continued to embrace their learning opportunities and Mr Ellis has recorded several of his favourite storybooks for ELC students to enjoy in their own time.

Charli (featured below) is demonstrating grit and determination as she tries to master a tricky tongue twister in her year 6 Studio Private Drama class.



Across the broader community, music instrument sales have increased and the media has shown many examples of music uniting communities as people sing from their balconies in Italy, or play their instrument from their driveway for ANZAC Day. Music has continued to play a role in the lives of our students at St Leonard’s College during the period of lockdown.

Private music lessons have moved online and these students are preparing for their ‘online recitals’ – a highlight of the recitals event will include our annual Solo Artist Competition. In the classroom, music has continued across all year levels with students presenting solo performances to their peers, developing musicianship skills through online programs and creating their own compositions. All students in years 3 to 7 have engaged in ‘hands-on’ practical music classes either learning an instrument or developing their singing skills. Learning to play in time to a backing track and undertaking online instruction has provided opportunities for students to learn in a new setting, with many students thriving in this focused environment. The Junior School students have furthered their pitch and rhythm skills through a Kodaly-based singing approach. The bands, orchestras, ensembles and choirs have been rehearsing online with conductors working creatively to present students with a range of educational opportunities, Some of the senior students have been able to record themselves at home and email this into their conductors who have been able to create a ‘virtual’ ensemble recording. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of Mr Mark Ford and the Auditioned Choir under the guidance of Ms Sarah Patterson are two wonderful examples of this.

Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s Impressive Virtual Performances


In Flanders Fields – Auditioned Choir Anzac Day Commemoration


‘The Prayer’ Trombone Quintet by Max, Year 12 Trombonist


Visual Arts

The visual arts stimulate young imaginations, challenge perceptions and develop creative and analytical skills. From McMillan House to VCE/International Baccalaureate the Visual Arts provide a universal form of human expression, social justice and a unique way of knowing that engages our students in imaginative activities. The students have taken over kitchen tables, lounge rooms and garages in a flurry of energy and creative practice.

Featured above is one of our student Mathew’s IBDP Visual Arts Home Studio

Social action has been a significant part of the isolation journey through ‘The Moment Project’ and also Year Art 9 portraits which were created for Allity Aged Care residents. A small selection of these are featured below.


As we have headed to online learning, the children in the Junior School are thoroughly enjoying their experiences in art. They are being introduced to and inspired by a variety of artists whilst extending their skills and explorations with unusual materials such as coffee, soy sauce and beetroot paint.


Traditional forms, textile arts and digital techniques have been explored in Middle School and Senior School as students have combed their home for inspiration.

Year 9 Photography

We have been given the opportunity to celebrate St Leonard’s College Visual Art students at the virtual tours of both Top Design and Top Arts. 12% of the 2019 Graduating Class chose further education in Art and Design. Visual Art will lead students to a world where visible thinking, design thinking, visual and media literacy, visual interpretation, analysis and creative manipulation are essential in the 21st century.

‘If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, rather teach them to long for the immensity of the sea.’

Antoine de Saint- Exupery

Whilst in isolation our drama, music and visual art students have not been hibernating, they have continued to actively rehearse their musical ensembles, audition for Hart Theatre Company productions and participate in local and international visual art competitions. Let’s face it – if you are innovative and creative then take the opportunity to generously share it with the world. The work created through these difficult times mirrors the complexity of a new generation of artistic thinkers. It is a glimpse into each student’s journey, and a burst of hope for a future that is filled with colour, contrast, depth and perspective. It is this magic, innovation and creativity that the three arts programs are all about, and are essentially what we create here at St Leonard’s College.


David Perkins (2008). “Smart Schools: From Training Memories to Educating Minds”, p.114, Simon and Schuster                             

MacDonald, A., Hunter, M., Ewing, R. and Polley, J. (2018). Dancing Around Drawn Edges: Reimagining Deficit Storylines as Sites for Relational Arts Teacher Professional Learning Collaboration. Australian Art Education 39(3), 455-467.                                                 

UNESCO. (2014). Adult and Youth Literacy. National Regional and Global Trends 1985-2015. Retrieved from

Garrett, P. (2009). Arts in Australia’s national curriculum, Media Release, 17 April. Accessed April 17, 2009 from