An often overlooked but integral part of society is art. One student wondered why art is even important. Many grades have an art class as part of the curriculum, but why? Jamie DeVita, teacher at Bedford High School with a specialty is painting, answers some of the most wondered questions from students all over the school. “It is important for critical thinking and problem solving. It exercises a different part of the brain, and allows for free self-expression. All parts of the brain need to be used, in order to sharpen the senses” The drawing class recently tested their patience by drawing in the negative space of an object; flipping it inside their brain. “You make strong connections and friendships with such a variety of people.” So many different types of people take these classes, but there’s a unanimous goal, everyone is there to learn, and everyone is interested. “It is important for kids to work with their gross and fine motor skills. When they work with their hands, their handwriting improves. They get stronger and learn to think fast as well as in-depth.” When out in the world, it is all too easy to get caught up in what everyone else thinks. It is important to be realistic, as well as day-dream, to be well-balanced and productive. Art brightens the world and allows people to have a voice. “Having art in the environment around you is positive stimuli, such as candles”. It is a nice visual sense and provides a feeling of belonging and peace. It gives you the freedom to decorate however you want.
A favorite art class by far is the sculpture class. “You get to use whatever comes to mind, and create something new out of it.” Examples even included books.The students carved them into different scenery. It was as if the sculptures were telling their own story. They came to life in vibrant and new ways. For students looking for a more challenging course, IB I and II are a great opportunity. “IB is self-directed for the most part, you get to work with whatever you want. However, you have to be prepared to research and go in-depth.” It is so rewarding. You learn the faces and hearts behind these famous works, and exactly what went into them. It gives you a different perspective.
An interesting question was a look into the materials students get to use. Another student wondered what DeVita herself wished students would reach for more often. “All the classes are so different, but have a very specific curriculum.” In painting, you use all sorts of paints, including oils, acrylics, and watercolor. In drawing, you experiment with different drawing techniques and projects. “I would love to see students take a variety of classes. Many of students take drawing, and they miss the opportunity to explore their interests further.” Students interested in digital art could take photography, or even computer animation. “They often take drawing because they think it is the easiest class. Every art class is the same amount of hard, just with different techniques and materials. Students usually show up, thinking they can’t paint, or don’t even take the class at all because they think they will be bad at it.” The beauty of art is that it is always changing, and anything can be art. It allows you to let go of expectations and enjoy the process.
DeVita’s biggest inspiration is truly the people around her. “I feel like I learn new things every day. I love talking to the students and seeing what they want to try. Every person has a different art style, especially my art colleagues. The projects they try inspire me to add variety to the projects I assign.”
One teacher had a question as well. She wondered if the art department displayed their art around town. “Last year we displayed our art in flight coffee around January and February. We are aiming to do another display this year around the same time (dates not confirmed yet). We are always open to suggestions and we would love to do many more.”
DeVita even had a question of her own. “What could the art department do to encourage more students to sign up for art classes?”
It is most important to let go of expectations and explore interests. When you open your mind to the world around you, you grow, and you often wonder— Why have I never tried this before? The beauty of a broad lifestyle is the freedom that comes with it when you change as an individual and when you are inspired to spark change.