Student-Run Arts Website “The West Po Studio” Launches


Photo: Annalise Grindstaff

Back from virtual school, many students have been inspired to create their own clubs. In particular, Kaitlin Cascio and Annalise Grindstaff, two sophomores, have paired up to create “The West Po Studio.” Inspired by other school publications, like the Wire or Syzygy – a former literary arts magazine – they created an online platform full of book, music, and arts related recommendations.

Long time friends, Grindstaff and Cascio wanted to make the Studio because they noticed the arts were often overlooked when it came to advertised opportunities. 

“The viewpoint of what art can be is a little narrow and we wanted to expand that… [by] making opportunities clearer to people and giving people a chance to share their art and ideas,” says Cascio. 

Grindstaff has a background in community theater, has been participating in school choir since middle school, takes piano and voice lessons, and acts as the art director for the West Potomac choir department. Cascio has participated in the crew for a few shows in middle school, in addition to taking an art class offered by West Potomac.

Each month, the website is updated with 3 articles: one related to music, one related to literature, and a feature on a timely arts-related commentary or event. For February, the feature focused on Black artists and creators in honor of Black History Month. “This month is Women’s History Month so we’re showcasing women artists,” says Cascio. Grindstaff says that content includes, “books by women, female music artists, and prominent female figures in arts history.” In addition, Cascio says, “There will be a quarterly issue that features student submissions of artwork, like visual arts or performing arts. Because it’s virtual we can have videos and non traditional art mediums.”

To connect back to opportunities in the local community, there is a page labeled “Upcoming Events” that advertises shows, concerts, and exhibitions around West Potomac. 

Grindstaff says, “Currently, we have upcoming shows; there’s a musical at Sandburg [Middle School], there’s a musical at the Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theater, and [West Potomac’s] own Be More Chill.”  Along with the articles and submissions, there is a page with a list of arts-related charities that people are encouraged to donate to. 

While the website is yet to launch and gain traction, they both are expecting the quarterly features to be their favorite part. Grindstaff says, “We haven’t really seen it come to fruition yet, but … [I] think it will be really inspiring to people who want to start getting involved.” She also admits, “Just from talking to people about this, I wasn’t expecting people to be as excited about this as they were.”

The Studio launches March 2022. Students who are interested in the Studio’s mission are encouraged to submit works or join the club. “On the homepage is a button to submit pieces and another is a member application”, says Cascio. They are seeking people of all talents, not just to create art, but also people to help with marketing and the tech-aspect of the website. The website can be reached at