Introductory art classes impress


Foundations in Art is a class that teaches students the basics of visual art and allows them to further explore their creative interests. In order to take any advanced art class at KO, students must take Foundations in Art, which is why it is one of the most popular art electives.

Because the class is introductory, it is mostly comprised of freshmen looking to either fulfill their art credit or develop an interest in art. 

Due to the new COVID-19 guidelines that have come into effect, art classes look much different than they have in previous years. Despite this, the curriculum has stayed roughly the same, including only a few changes. 

The first project those in Foundations in Art were tasked with was a Sumi ink painting, which was created by putting together the works of students from all of the Foundations in Art classes. “We had to be a little more creative when figuring out how to pull it off because everyone is supposed to paint on the same large piece of paper,“ creative arts teacher Katie Burnett said. To finish the project, each student was given a small piece of paper that was then passed around the room making the project much safer to complete. Currently, students are working on a still life project which allows them to expand on their observational drawing skills. 

Online learning, especially with international remote students, has certainly been an additional challenge. “The logistics of online learning and the addition of technology has added a new layer of complexity to the visual arts program,” creative arts Department Chair Scott McDonald said. 

Freshman Ryan Zheng, an international student taking classes online, has been able to successfully work from his home and come to class prepared with projects that closely resemble what peers are doing in person. “I think Foundations in Art was the best art class suited for me as an online learner,” Ryan said. In general, it has been a bit more challenging for Ryan to engage with his peers because the camera isn’t facing them, but he has still been enjoying his time in the class. “It’s hard to say what I enjoy best, but my favorite thing has been the Sumi ink drawing and then my still life,” he said. 

Despite joining Foundations in Art class via Zoom, Ryan Zheng has still been able to further his art skills. Photo by Abby Baier ’23.

For the students in person, very little has changed in terms of how they have been able to socialize. The biggest difference is that there are only allowed to be two people at a table, but because the space is so open, it is easy to chat with everyone in the room. “I think the class has a really great social aspect to it,” freshman Ava Cashman said. “It is a really good place to unwind and socialize.”

However, not all students who take Foundations in Art are freshmen. Junior Kaiya Deurloo is a new student at KO and is enrolled in Foundations in Art for the fall semester. Despite being one of the older students in the room, she finds it refreshing to be in a space dominated by underclassmen. “As a new student, it is nice being surrounded by other new people who are also still figuring KO out,” Kaiya said. 

One positive that has come from the situation is that students are able to take better photos of their work, which Ms. Burnett hopes to continue going forward. “I would like to keep an online portfolio for each student moving forward so that they can track their progress through their time at KO,” she said. 

Overall, the Foundations in Art curriculum hasn’t changed drastically. While COVID-19 certainly has not made operating class any easier, Foundations in Art continues to serve as a class in which students can develop their artistic abilities and meet new people who have similar interests.