MSA Showcase Impresses with Live and Virtual Performances


The ceramics exhibit for the MSA showcase

Natalie Note, Reporter

The MSA Showcase is an annual event put on by the MSA Foundation as an exhibition of exceptional student art and a fundraiser to benefit all departments as well. This year, the Showcase took place on May 8th and featured both virtual and in-person exhibits.

Michelle Cortez, Novato High Assistant Principal and MSA Director, has been heading the planning of this event along with MSA Special Programs Specialist, Shannon Miller. 

Cortez commented on how difficult it has been to plan the complex event this year. 

“It feels like everything has been harder this year, doesn’t it? Planning Showcase is no exception.” Cortez said. 

Even though it may have been harder at times, the Showcase team still worked hard to make sure that they were able to put on an in-person experience safely and in line with the proper guidelines and precautions. 

Cortez shed some light on why she enjoys having an in-person Showcase. 

“An in-person Showcase was sweet just to be around families and students I don’t get to see all the time,” she said. “Live performances across the campus felt like a festival. It was energizing, intimate, and a journey.” 

Viewing a virtual showcase also has its pros. The more visual arts such as cinematic arts and digital art have a chance to show off their art individually and not be embedded into another program’s display. Having a virtual component allows for more families to experience the Showcase even after in-person tickets have sold out and to see all MSA programs from a different perspective. 

Rebecca Pollack, MSA Creative Writing teacher, gave her thoughts on how beneficial the Showcase is, specifically to the creative writing program. 

“Creative Writing is unique in that we are a program that has a foot in both the performing and visual arts. We get to highlight both of those elements in the annual MSA Showcase. Students perform short pieces of writing live, and we also display short works that speak to visual art from other MSA programs. It’s a wonderful experience for students to have their work highlighted in multiple ways, and the student curation process we’ve done in past years has been a special experience that we look forward to bringing back next year,” Pollock said. 

Pollack also talked about her favorite part of the MSA Showcase. 

“I love seeing all of the MSA programs highlighted in one event, and in past years, I have loved working with student curators to create an art gallery that showcases all of the visual arts programs and Creative Writing,” she said. “It’s also incredibly rewarding to see writers perform their pieces for a live audience!”  

Overall, having a virtual and in-person showcase this year allowed for a larger variety of art to be displayed and for all programs to be able to have their own unique exhibits. The response was overwhelmingly positive and ticket holders that attended in-person were treated to the full MSA experience with notable performances from jazz band, rock band, and theatre, as well as art installations from ceramics, drawing and painting, and product design. 

It was a show unlike any other and extremely reminiscent of the full-scale events we can all remember from before the COVID-19 pandemic.