The After School Art Program is a new class that lets students explore and expand their artistic creativity.
This is the first year of the program, and sophomores through seniors are allowed to participate. The program was designed to give students the freedom to take their art wherever they want it to go in a small, comfortable environment.
Creative Arts teacher Katie Burnett views the students in this class as working artists because the participants switch between a variety of pieces and projects.
“Some of the students participating in this program are focusing on very big projects that they will complete over a considerable amount of time, where others are working on a few smaller projects that they focus on at different times,” Ms. Burnett said.
A few students from the program, such as sophomore Brooke Seaver, briefly described what they are currently delving into. “At the moment I am doing a pop culture themed project. I am drawing MTV logos repetitively with different designs and colors,” she said.
Sophomore Niki Taylor is also engaged in a similar project. “I thought it would be really interesting to find coins from each year I have been alive and paint something on each coin that represents or symbolizes that year through my perspective,” she said. “For example, the year I started attending KO, I drew the KO logo.”
Each student chooses which medium best suits their project, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and film.
Ms. Burnett takes a unique approach to the class as not only does she assist the students with their projects, but she also works on her own art.
“Students get to work alongside me, not just taking direction, but watching how I go about a project, learning that I also make mistakes and how to adjust and correct,” she said.
Niki commented that she appreciates this process.
“I have learned so much from working with Ms. Burnett and watching her create her own pieces,” Niki said. “I did not know what to expect from this program and am so glad I decided to do it. It has been one of my favorite experiences at KO thus far.”
The program is very enjoyable for the participants, permitting people to socialize with students from other grades or people they wouldn’t normally have class with or get a chance to meet. It is a small group, so students really get to know one another well.
“It has been so much fun to make new friends, meeting other KO students who have a similar interest in art,” said sophomore Jaden Paldino. “My art has progressed as it really helps to be around other creative people.”
One other unique aspect of the program is the opportunity to go on art field trips. So far, the group has gone to the University of Hartford School of Art.
While there, students saw a clay show and a printmaking show. Both displayed works of art from current University of Hartford art students. The group was able to talk with the artists and professors and get a real understanding of what college level art could entail.
The class also attended the Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Award Show, where original work from high school students around the state was displayed.
“The scholastic show really showed me how talented high school students around the state are,” Jaden said.
“It motivated me to continue to work on my art. It gave me something to strive for.”
I am also a student in this program and found that it has really helped me be more independent as an artist. I enjoy getting to try different things that I have not been exposed to in my other art classes. It has been a place for me to take more risks and be more creative, trying new things and learning as I create.