Art in the schools
Art in the schools
Posted on 12/02/2019
Art in the schools

Art in the schools

Welcome to Art in Puyallup Schools. This article is the first in a series that explores the art curriculum offered to enrich each student’s education. The articles will showcase the vast opportunities students have, not only to create art but to explore the elements of art and learn about art history.

Arts and Communication is one of five Career & Technical Education pathways offered in the Puyallup School District. Along with an emphasis on a strong academic program, the pathways give students the opportunity to explore specific career-related classes and activities.

Since each career pathway includes a variety of options and choices, they are applicable for all students, whether they plan to go on to four-year colleges, community or technical colleges, or directly into apprenticeships or work. In addition to providing a basis for career awareness and exploration, all career pathways share the basic educational learning requirements and core competencies students need to be successful in any career.

At the elementary level, a cadre of teachers from each elementary began working together in 2018 to prepare lessons for each grade level that meet essential standards for art instruction. The lessons are more than simply creating an art project, rather they are academic and include instruction on the elements of art.

Art 1The study of fine, visual, and performing arts provides an opportunity to explore new ideas, content, and culture. It allows students to express point of view, perspective, passion and emotion. In addition, “the arts” allow for aesthetic experiences that evoke intellectual and emotional responses for the viewers. Through the study and practice of the arts, students employ sound, image, action, and movement to learn to solve problems, make decisions, think creatively, and use imagination.

According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Superintendent Chris Reykdal, “As Superintendent of Public Instruction, I support providing a well-rounded education for our students: the arts are an essential part of this. The arts teach to the whole child, engage all learning styles, and lead to the development of powerful learning habits that include such essential 21st Century Skills as creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The arts also provide our students with keys to understanding the world around them and an array of strategies for learning, interpreting, and expressing their thoughts. 

Exploring high school drawing, design, and painting

Art 2A recent visit to teacher Ann Read’s Drawing 1 class at Emerald Ridge High School showcased student artists in action. Using a graphite pencil, each student was asked to sketch a portrait of their choice. They choose a small sized photo of a person from the internet to sketch. The photo could only include head, neck, and shoulders. They learned to use a grid to double the size of the photo as they created the portrait.

This was one of three drawings students are required to complete in the Drawing 1 course. They use pencil and pen. Read says most of the students in her drawing courses have an interest in exploring art.

Drawing 1 students explore and develop work that introduces a variety of drawing media and applications. Students use drawing skills in non-objective, abstract, and realistic drawing applications. Drawing 1 applies the creative process and connects work in drawing to other subjects, life and work.

Art 3Read also teaches design and painting courses at Emerald Ridge.

Design 1 students explore and develop projects that may include printmaking, textile design, or sculpture. Students use the elements of design (line, color, texture, value, shape, and form) to create two- and three-dimensional art. Design 1 applies the creative process and connects work in design to other subjects, life, and work.

Painting 1 students learn color theory and explore and develop paintings in a variety of water-based media. Students apply the elements of design (line, color, texture, value, shape, and form) in their work. Painting 1 applies the creative process and connects work in painting to other subjects, life, and work.

According to Washington State K-12 Arts Learning Standards for Visual Arts, Washington state law identifies the arts as a core content area and an essential part of the basic education goals of all school districts. “Arts education addresses an essential form of human communication and provides unparalleled opportunities for exploring a multiplicity of viewpoints and modes of expression. Students develop a greater capacity for understanding not only a variety of artworks and art forms, but also the people and contexts that produce them. At the same time, students learn skills, techniques, and ways of thinking that enable them to use art to express their own perceptions, experiences, and views—while simultaneously developing confidence and fundamental skills that will serve them well in school and throughout their lives.”