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The Lodi Rampage

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Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun

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Sculptor, Magdalena Abakanowicz once said, “Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence.” Art education, on the other hand, does solve problems. Years of research show that it’s closely linked to almost everything that we, as a nation, say we want for our children and demand from our schools: Academic achievement and social and emotional development. So why is it that art programs in schools do not receive the same academic recognition and significance as other subjects such as Math, English, and Science? Why is it that a student who is gifted in the arts and excels in the arts should be subjected to taking these classes where they cannot express themselves and enjoy what they are learning, but a student who is not particularly artistically inclined is not required to take an art class and broaden their academic horizon?

Of course all students must take the fundamental classes, but why is it that art is seen as a minuscule subject that has no learning potential? For me, art was never only a leisurely activity that I took lightly. Art has influenced my character and has allowed me to have a different perspective of the world around me. When I asked my Art teacher, Ms. Zuniga if she thought art was just as important as Math, English, and Science, she replied stating, “The arts provide students with opportunities to challenge their problem solving skills, ignite their creativity, and boost their confidence as they grow and progress in class. I also consider the possibility that students may not know they are destined for an art career if they are deprived of the arts in school.”

As a freshman, I took honors classes but the only class I truly looked forward to was Exploratory Art. After a long day solving mathematical equations, reading and analyzing literature, and learning that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, I could not wait to learn about Van Gogh or mold a vase out of clay. To me, this class introduced me to the wide variety of artists and their influence on the world, while also guiding me to improve my own artistic abilities. Not only do these creative outlets exercise a different part of my brain that is usually dormant for most of the school day, but they also provide me with an opportunity to express myself in a positive manner. Moving forward in high school, I could not wait to take a higher art class to further improve my skills; however, I also couldn’t help but wonder why the highest art class was only Art 3 Honors. What if Lodi High School had an AP Art program and how much would that benefit the students? Luckily, Lodi High School is possibly introducing an AP Art class next year. Sadly, I won’t be here to take it, but I’m happy for those who are younger than me and looking to pursue an art career because they will have the opportunity to take this class and prepare themselves for college.

With an enthusiastic new art teacher, Ms. Zuniga who took AP Studio Art in high school, an incredible program can be expected. When asked how taking the course benefited her as a student she replied, “Drawing was always a hobby of mine, but I didn’t take my talent seriously until I was challenged in my drawing class, which later inspired me to take art classes all throughout my high school career. I had the opportunity to take AP Studio Art twice with a concentration in drawing my junior year and 2D design my senior year. Ultimately, my college portfolio was comprised of pieces I did in that class and I felt extremely prepared for my portfolio reviews. I believe future seniors will benefit from this class greatly.”

Ms. Zuniga and many of her current Art students are very excited about the new AP Studio Art: Drawing class that will be offered next year. This class will especially benefit students who are serious about pursuing an art career in college. The whole school year in AP Studio Art will be dedicated to creating strong pieces that will be judged by the AP college board. If you’re a Freshman or Sophomore and would like to take this class in the future, I would suggest you take Exploratory Art as an elective in order to get a little taste of what art is all about. Students in Ms. Zuniga’s exploratory classes learn about art history while doing a little of everything like drawing, painting, collage, ceramics, etc. Taking Exploratory Art will also prepare you for the self discipline and persistence that is required to make art that is compelling and personal. I am sure Ms. Zuniga would love seeing more students take the advanced classes that come after Exploratory Art, like Art 1/2/3 or AP Studio Art, but with the understanding that hard work and the ability to accept and overcome new creative challenges will be expected of them. There is no such thing as an easy A when it comes to art! If you’re someone who’s looking for a splash of color in their daily school routine, try something new and take an art class!

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.” -Pablo Picasso 

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Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun