Foundations in Art introduces visual arts at KO


Foundations in Art, an introductory course that has been offered at KO for many years, has the goal of instilling in students a basic understanding of various art forms before going off to pursue other art classes at KO. 

“We want to introduce students to drawing, working with color, some kind of 3D experience, and then an independent project,” creative arts teacher Scott McDonald said. “Those are sort of the main elements.”

A unique characteristic of the class is that the curriculum has a certain amount of flexibility that many other classes at KO aren’t able to have. “When Ms. Burnett started maybe five or six years ago, we put a lot of work into developing the curriculum as it is now,” said Mr. McDonald. “We collaborated on what works and what doesn’t and what we think could be interesting and effective assignments for that class.”

Another important aspect of Foundations in Art is the classroom environment. This is an element that many students find to be the main reason why the class is so enjoyable. “It’s kind of like a free environment,” said freshman Teague Shamleffer. “You can choose where you sit. You have open tables where you can talk to people, so it’s really calm.”

Mr. McDonald admits this was an intentional choice made by the art teachers.  “We definitely want the Foundations class to have a sort of low stress, still-productive environment where all students feel like they can be successful and it’s not competitive; it’s not judgemental,” he stated. He also says that students are able to put their own creative mark on any assignment. “Even if we’re sort of asking you to use a certain material or medium, there are ways that a particular student could put their stamp on it or find their own unique way of making it their own,” he said.

Sophomore Joella Asapokhai, who took the class in her freshman year, remarks that the class truly helped in her exploration of visual arts. “Taking Foundations in Art was an opportunity for me to learn and explore my artistry in a stress-free way and to have fun while doing it,” she recalled. “The class made me more confident and comfortable with art.”

In regards to continuing art at KO, freshman Matthew Belo plans to take printmaking next semester. “I agree that the class should be mandatory because it really prepares you for your elective,” he said. Teague also shared similar sentiments about the class “I think you do need a basis to build off of,” he said. “If you learn about a bunch of different topics, then you can pick which one you like and move towards that one.”

By the end of the semester-long class, Mr. McDonald hopes students will feel comfortable taking chances and not worry about failure. “The main thing is for students to develop that resiliency to not just do something quickly and stop,” he said. “Whatever the project is, it’s important that we continue to work on it and develop it and take suggestions and feedback.”

Foundations in Art will continue to be a staple class here at KO and help develop the next generations of artists to come!