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Art electives help student growth

TUES. | 03-22-22 | OPINION

     Ever since I was young, art has always been a big interest of mine. I attended summer camps at a local art studio called Emerge, learned how to draw with my grandma and painted with my mom. Over time, I lost touch with my artistic side as academics took control of my life. Now, looking back, I regret not taking an art class my freshman year of high school and continuing to develop my skills.

     When signing up for classes my freshman year, I was overwhelmed with the amount of credits I needed to acquire, so art classes were pushed to the back of my mind. Now, as a junior, I have been attending some of art teacher Randall Leach’s Refresh sessions: Come Create Art. These short sessions have brought the joy of art back into my life. I have realized how much I love creating art even if I am not extremely skilled.

     Drawing upon this, I noticed how there aren’t many art extracurriculars offered. Now understanding how freeing art can be, I wish there was an art club at Rose where students

art club

Graphic by Abby Ershadi

could create art, collaborate, express themselves and gain more knowledge about different art skills. Even though the Refresh sessions are amazing, they are really short and it’s hard to get started on a project that I will have to leave 20 minutes later. I understand that the absence of an art club could be due to disinterest, not enough time, no advisor or other factors. However, the chance of creating an art club could inspire many students to take action.

     Another contributing reason to the absence of art extracurriculars is the discouragement of art in general. Growing up, I was always told to get good grades in school so I could go to college and get a job. Enjoyable subjects, like art, were tossed aside. The thought of majoring in an art, whether it may be music, theater, visual art, writing, dance or acting, scares many people and parents. The stigma of “not making it in life” surrounds the majority of art majors. I recognize that a high level of ability and skill are needed to be successful when pursuing these subjects, but it’s not worth sacrificing happiness by not taking a risk in order to lead a “stable and successful” life.

     The school system has pushed the competition of academics on students and created a separation between taking classes students actually enjoy and focusing on taking classes to boost their grade point average. The majority of art classes start at a standard level so many students stray away from taking those. Not only is this unfair to students who want to succeed in academics and art, but it pushes students to take alternate courses at Pitt Community College which are mostly online and take away the creative side of an art course.

     Implementing an art club at Rose would help students experiment with their creative side where academics are not involved. An art club would help students see if their interests really lie in art, or if they just enjoy it for fun. Personally, I enjoy expressing myself in a creative way such as painting or drawing. Either way, this could give students a creative outlet to express themselves and get away from rigorous academic courses. An art club could also create an opportunity for students whose parents discourage art to be able to create as well. 

     Attending the 25-minute Come Create Art Refresh sessions has impacted my life by inspiring me to create more freely, even if I am not super talented at it. I enjoy painting and letting my mind wander across the canvas, and I think an art club would be beneficial to many other students in a similar way. 

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