Academic Concentration Program Spotlight: Beth Deslauriers '21

Posted by Heidi Thoma


The creative studies concentration provides added perspectives for students who are passionate about the arts by requiring them to engage in multiple artistic disciplines throughout their time at Proctor. As a prolific studio artist and 3 year junior, Beth jumped into the Winter drama performance her junior year and stuck with the challenge making a fantastic impact on stage. For her capstone she returns to her visual art to create dozens of surreal portraits inspired by reclaimed glass she collected along the East River while in quarantine. This was a shift from the oils and markers Beth used to create portraits previously. 

Proctor Academy Arts Academic Concentration Program

Overview of Beth’s Concentration Capstone: 

The Academic Concentration Capstone Project I chose to carry out is a series of glass portraits made from sea glass that I collected from the East River Beach in Queens, New York this past summer. I brainstormed arrangements for the glass portraits beforehand, and then set them with West Systems resin. I chose to write my concentration paper on Surrealism, focusing into the mechanism and history of the art practice and the psychology behind it. 

Proctor Academy Arts Academic Concentration Program


Advice from Beth: 

To Concentration Students in Creative Studies In Particular: You don’t have to like every single piece of art you make (I’m still really working on this one), and practicing or trying new techniques out is not wasting materials, it’s practicing, and practice is mandatory to the growth of any skill.  To All Concentration Students: Definitely dedicate time frequently to this. Add something each week. Don’t Wait. 


Proctor Academy Arts Academic Concentration Program

Interdisciplinary Aspects:

The academic concentration program aims to incorporate academic work across all disciplines - no matter which of the five focus areas is selected.  Beth recalls making particular connections in her Horror Literature 11th grade English Elective:

Some of the stuff that happens in those books is really surreal. I didn’t anticipate that. It broadens my way of thinking about surrealism in general. 

Proctor Academy Arts Academic Concentration Program

From Beth’s Faculty Mentor: (Corby Leith ‘92) 

I would argue that Beth’s process with this project was more intuitive than she thinks now.  She stayed true to the automatic art model even with a medium which, let’s face it, is not as immediate as paint. She embraced it in a wonderful way with the sensibility that she cares about. I am very proud. To Beth: Continue to embrace the automatic, but don’t be married to it. 

Note: If you are on campus please visit the Lovejoy Library to See Beth’s work in the display case this spring (2021). Link to Beth’s work in the 2021 art show scroll down on the show page to see her portraits in oil and marker. 

Proctor Academy Arts Academic Concentration Program

Proctor Academy Arts Academic Concentration Program

AC Program Overview

A rigorous and flexible program for the self-motivated Proctor Student, Academic Concentrations combine standard coursework, extracurricular engagement on campus or elsewhere, self-defined and assessed competency goals and a culminating capstone project or research paper.  Students who elect to take on a concentration choose one of five focus areas: environmental studies, global citizenship, social justice, STEM, or creative studies and develop an individual plan with a mentor and the Academic Concentration committee. 

Click here to learn more about Proctor's Academy Concentrations Program!


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