By: Liv Ristaino '23
Hello everyone. My name is Liv Ristaino! I am a day student from Concord, Mass. This will be my fourth year at LA. Over the past few years, I have fallen in love with the arts at LA.
Coming in from middle school, I was able to appreciate the arts but didn’t have much interest in pursuing them myself. In my freshman year, each student was required to take a class called artistic expression, where for each term, the student takes a class in the different art types offered by LA. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled with this idea, but within the first few days, I found myself loving the arts more and more. The art teacher was unbelievably supportive, even staying after class to help me with my skills.
Again, I have never shown much interest in the arts, but after getting my first taste, I dove head first into as many arts as possible.
In my freshman year, fall, and winter term, I decided to try out for theater. I had to participate in some theater in middle school and remembered liking it, so I decided to try it again. I was terrified on my first day. I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t very experienced in acting, but when I walked into that classroom, I’d never experienced such a warm welcome. Everyone, including the teacher, was so kind and supportive, I felt like I had been there for years and finally found my people.
In the theater classroom, I found the confidence to speak up and be true to myself in whatever sense that may be.
After participating in the theatrical arts for the fall and winter term, I planned to participate in the spring One Acts, short student-written and directed plays by Honor’s Theater, but COVID had other plans for me.
The following year, I wasn’t too keen on theater with COVID still around, so I decided to try out dance. My advisor always told me that dance was the one class/sport I 100% needed to take before graduating, and I completely agree. Since the sophomore fall term, I have taken dance as my sport for every term since. In theater, I found my confidence to speak up, but in dance, I found true self-love. The LA dance program is truly incredible; it gives students a space to create and express themselves freely, despite experience and without judgment.
I cannot rave enough about the dance program and how much it has benefited me throughout these past few years.
Lastly is the visual arts. As mentioned before, I gravitated toward the visual arts during my freshman year. The following year, I took drawing and painting classes to build my technical skills. I didn’t know much about art, but I knew I wanted to improve. In my winter term, I collaborated with one of the art teachers on an independent study. I spent the entire term creating a large surrealist colored pencil portrait, a medium I had never worked with before. I loved the freedom I had to create the piece that I wanted and the ability to make that happen, which is why I loved taking Honors Visual Art so much in the next two years. These past two years have been incredibly formative in my creative journey.
In these year-long classes, I have had complete freedom to create what I want and have the help to make my visions into a reality.
Today, looking back, I’ve spent more hours in the art hallway than I can count, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.