This school year, the structure of class configurations has taken a huge turn in the arts program. This program now separates beginning level classes for subjects such as drawing and painting and those classes are followed by separated advanced classes that build off of the beginners classes. This allows for students to delve deeper into a single art medium rather than focusing on a broader subject.
When Bill Colburn, the current teacher of various visual art courses was asked what motivated this change, he said, “Ultimately it was my sabbatical. One of the things that became clear to me on my sabbatical is that there are so many ways to do art and there are so many ways to paint and so many ways to draw and I want to expose our kids to more than I was doing before.” This new program allows students to build off of what they have learned in previous years and gives them the chance to become acquainted with different ways of thinking about art. This new structure of classes gives students more opportunities and allows them to choose an area of interest and follow that path throughout high school. Colburn says, “We are really asking a ninth grader to look at the catalog for the next three years and think about all the different possibilities that exist and what they want to do.” Freshman students can choose courses based on what they might want to do junior and senior year. Students now have the ability to hone in on a specific area of interest and can gain new skills that are unique to that area of interest.
According to students, so far the new arts configurations have been a success. Callisto Thompson ‘20 has taken art classes in both the old and new configurations. He has taken drawing and painting 1, advanced drawing, human condition, and advanced painting. Thompson says, “I enjoy the separated classes more because I can spend more time focusing on an individual skill.” Thompson asserts that although the combined classes were better for beginners, he prefers the separated classes because he can focus on skills in more detail.
While there are benefits and drawbacks to the new arts class configuration, the new layout allows the students to specialize in certain areas of interest and it provides a refreshing change in curriculum for teachers and students alike.