Nurturing a Generation of Artistic Minds: How Palmetto’s New Art Wing Will Change Arts Education


Valentina Arias

With the new building being constructed at Miami Palmetto Senior High School students have the opportunity to enhance in their abilities as artists of all kind. (Photo courtesy of Linda Dwyer)

Angelina Astic, Copy Editor

The current construction of Miami Palmetto Senior High School classrooms and buildings brings the addition of an all-new arts wing, facilitating the expansion and cultivation of arts education for not only current Palmetto students, but the generations to come. 

Within the wing, which features classrooms for the fine arts, photography, music, dance and theatre programs, students can find large spacious classrooms, all equipped with state of the art facilities and resources. 

As for the dance classroom, one of the larger spaces in the building, Palmetto’s dancers and variations team, who spend extra hours at school, can practice on new wooden floors complete with floor to ceiling mirrors. 

Across the hall lies the photography room, which has a computer lab style set-up, allowing for students to focus on digital photography. An element of the old buildings which the administration pushed to include in the new wing is a dark room, which allows for the development of photographs. This duality of both a lab equipped with computers and dark room sets Palmetto apart as one of the few schools to offer this type of classroom. 

“This environment will allow for a more expansive education in photography because it’s a multimedia experience so people can do old-school prints with the old camera and have a hand in developing film,” Photography Three student and junior Angelina Gonsalves said. “It’s a really cool experience to see how technology has evolved… you get to experiment with different forms of media and even collaborate them together into multi-mixed media.”

Arts classrooms remain equipped with the necessary supplies for students, but also include new additions which allow for the creation of more three-dimensional artwork. These include pottery wheels for ceramics, a slab roller for clay creations and a kiln, which all open the avenues for the pieces that students can make in the classroom. 

“We already have a lot of clubs…  but without the materials and the equipment to do certain things like ceramics, as of now. The new building would make it a lot easier to do [projects] like that. I think it’s really important that there’s more opportunities to express yourself in different ways, “ Portfolio Honors and junior Sarah McWhirter said. 

Palmetto’s music program also benefits from the construction as students can now practice in a more spacious classroom than before. With a focus on enhancing each student’s talents and skills, the classroom also features many smaller rooms which can host a single student and teacher or small groups. This ensures that a teacher can help an individual student when necessary and work with small groups on a specific music piece apart from the rest of the students.

“As a group, smaller classes for one-on-one instruction is really, really helpful. Being able to work, not just as the entire ensemble, but do either smaller ensembles or even have our own practice rooms or just have one-on-one sessions with our teacher that just really brings new experiences. [It] helps each musician grow and learn in ways that they might not always get in the full orchestra setting,” Advanced Orchestra student and senior Sierra Su said. 

In addition to the arts wing, Palmetto also has a brand-new auditorium and separate black-box theatre, which provides drama students with many opportunities to practice and perform theatrical pieces. Complete with cutting-edge technology and ample seating for audiences, Palmetto’s thespian troupe has the opportunity to showcase their talents throughout the year to the local community. 

“I think students due to the new blackbox [theatre] and all the updates that we are getting are going to be more excited and have that passion kind of rejuvenate itself,” Thespian and junior Daniela Hernandez said. “Hopefully in all due time we will be able to perform together in this new state of the art facility. I think the timing of those two things is going to create an avalanche of just excitement and passion for the arts again, especially at Palmetto.”

Construction of a blackbox theatre also allows for an increase in performance opportunities for Palmetto’s arts students. A smaller stage, students can organize more after school events and rehearse when the auditorium is occupied. 

“[Students] definitely have an avenue and the space to be able to perform in different ways that they haven’t had a chance to perform in before,” Assistant Principal Daniel Barreras said. “In terms of being able to practice… they have the ability to go into these different areas around the building.”

Construction of the new wing drives new students and rising freshmen to Palmetto while further strengthening the role of the school in the local community as a supporter of the arts. 

“The community gets to know the kind of work that our students do and then, in turn, that will continue to bring those kids in our community to come to Palmetto and not go to a magnet school. We can compete against the private schools and all of that so we can keep Palmetto going strong,” Barreras said. 

Palmetto has remained notorious for its school spirit and emphasis on community, something that the new arts wing is sure to complement when potential students come to visit the school.

“The idea of Palmetto wasn’t just how the building looked, and it still isn’t. It’s how good it is, the school spirit, how we are all literally a family – some teachers there just know you by your hair in the hallway,” Variations dancer and junior Catherine Bales said. “I think [the arts wing] could draw away attention from a magnet school… it’s beautiful. But, I think at the same time, Palmetto will always be Palmetto.”

During an age of much uncertainty and changes, many students have turned to the arts as a creative outlet to showcase their talents to the world. This new art wing at Palmetto allows students to do just that, on a much larger scale than before.  

It’s important to remember that art classes benefit all students in many ways including building fine motor and problem solving skills as well as enhancing communication and expression. Art matters and I’m so happy it matters here at Palmetto High school,” AP Art History teacher Christine Moros said.