The annual Fall All School Student Art Show is now on display in the VPAC lobby. The exhibition features students in all three divisions and a variety of mediums. “The vitality of the art work displayed in the VPAC lobby for the 2018 All School Fall show from the three divisions is engaging and surprising,” says art teacher Kate Trepagnier. Trepagnier and art teachers Caroline Hagan and Russell Roper hope members of the Episcopal community will stop by and enjoy the creativity on display.
Episcopal students enjoy a wide range of artistic opportunities. Students can explore painting, drawing, photography, pottery, sculpture, mixed media and digital arts. Such diversity of choice in the arts is a key component of an Episcopal education and a necessary complement to the learning taking place in the traditional classroom.
Project-Based Learning in the Arts
According to the National Art Education Association (NAEA), the arts teach students that problems may have more than one solution and that varying perspectives should be celebrated. Art encourages critical thinking skills that have significant application to more traditional classroom subjects. Roper says art projects truly are a project-based learning experience.
One example of a project-based art experience is taking place in Roper’s Upper School Sculpture class. Students are tasked with determining what type of monument they would erect on Episcopal’s campus. To really get students thinking, Roper tasks students with completing a monument application similar to what a city council might require. Once students determine their theme, they conduct a site analysis, an elevation plan and a financial estimate for the project. After the planning process is complete, students construct a model of the monument using the best media for their design. In the end, students have a complete proposal that required significant research, planning and analysis, in addition to artistic abilities.
Digital Art Opportunities
“The addition of digital imaging has expanded what we do,” says Roper. The Episcopal art teachers are veterans with a passion for sharing their craft. These artists and Episcopal have embraced new technologies and the new forms of art associated with them. Dianne Madden, who teaches digital design and photography classes, brings more traditional art forms into the digital age. Students in the Communication Design class created posters promoting the art show and eighth grade Digital Photography students have a number of their works on display. In addition, students in Roper’s eighth grade class worked on a series of assignments on animals using Photoshop to transform traditional drawings into digital recreations of the creatures as comic book superheroes. Another popular assignment among seventh graders is the study of themselves in a number of self portrait assignments. For the first nine weeks of school, students use their own image as their muse as they explored color theory using the Brushes app to create digital selfies. A sample of these digital selfies and superheroes are on display in the current exhibition.
Art as Expression
“Art develops critical and diverse thinkers by promoting the solving of open-ended questions. It is the goal of our program to set the groundwork for each student to appreciate art as the language of the soul,” says Hagan, who is guiding students through art projects connected to the Lower School Community Read of Wishtree. The Episcopal artistic process provides students numerous opportunities to express themselves. Roper says he often reminds students that “artists are meaning makers” as he helps them establish a title for their work based on what they are trying to convey. To determine a title, students are asked to reflect on their project, the revisions they have made and the journey they have experienced. These reflections are written down and used to help give insight into the final product.
The Fall All School Student Art Show will provide observers a glimpse inside the Episcopal artistic experience, with everything from PreK-4 watercolor pieces to Upper School AP student paintings. Large paper mache works exploring ice cream, French fries and pizza will be food for thought for visitors, while the digital selfies and sculptures should not be missed. The exhibit will be on display through the end of October.
Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the arts at Episcopal.