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Fine arts department gets grant for tech improvement

Junior+Frankie+Spense%2C+freshman+Chase+Adkins+and+teacher+Brad+Distlehorst+use+new+laptops+to+prepare+for+the+play.+It+will+include+projection+mapping+software
Junior Frankie Spense, freshman Chase Adkins and teacher Brad Distlehorst use new laptops to prepare for the play. It will include projection mapping software

Junior Frankie Spense, freshman Chase Adkins and teacher Brad Distlehorst use new laptops to prepare for the play. It will include projection mapping software

Ruben Nava

Ruben Nava

Junior Frankie Spense, freshman Chase Adkins and teacher Brad Distlehorst use new laptops to prepare for the play. It will include projection mapping software

Ruben Nava, Staff Writer

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For the first time since the Akins campus opened in 2000, the Fine Arts department is receiving almost $10,000 in equipment improvements this year.

The grant money is coming into the Fine Arts program as the result of theater teacher Brad Distlehorst requesting a grant from a non-profit group called the Austin Ed Fund. Distlehorst said he applied for the grant to improve the visual and audio components of the various Fine Arts department productions.

The grant requested is for the entire Fine Arts department to obtain better equipment for the theater, orchestra, and band. The grant will improve the fine arts departments’ visual and audio recording equipment along with improvements to the theater itself.

  “I have a tech heavy background in theater and we were really lacking on the equipment to keep our students up to date, so I went and asked for the money for new equipment,” Distlehorst said.

The grant will benefit more than just theater. Band and orchestra will experience improvements as well. Orchestra director Paul Crockett said the new equipment will allow his students to record themselves on campus and share their work.

“When we do concerts, we can make recordings of those concerts to share them with the
public and share them with the students,” he said.

Crockett said he is grateful for  the opportunity to make these changes. He said they will broaden recording opportunities and quality
for all departments to better capture their performances.

Senior Katherine Beardsley said she is excited to get to use the new equipment this year.

“With the new equipment we have already gotten from the grant we will be able to do things like projections and have a much better soundboard for the concerts and plays,” Distlehorst said.

Distlehorst said those who go see the upcoming production of “James and the Giant Peach” will notice an improvement in the visuals with the new equipment. The tech students will use a technology called projection mapping, which will let the tech students be able to project complex or 3D shapes on any surface.

“With all the technology and software we are getting, the theater tech students will be able to learn how to use new programs and utilize them in different ways to benefit the performances,” Beardsley said.

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