How students and teachers handled art education during COVID-19

Vivian Rong ('23)

How students and teachers handled art education during COVID-19

At East, students have an opportunity to learn something that is unteachable: creativity. Some classes can help students explore a buried passion. These classes turn imagination into a form of expression. These classes are art classes.

However, during an unprecedented pandemic, the opportunities for art students have changed dramatically with students both in school and in virtual learning. Students are adapting to this challenging school environment with help from teachers by finding new ways to “channel their inner artist” behind a computer screen or a desk.

Marlee Petkov (‘24), a student taking both fine art and 3D art at East, has had both a virtual and an in-person experience for both classes. “Due to COVID, 3D art was hard to do online because of the lack of clay and other supplies needed to make 3D art,” said Petkov.

The art teachers at East have not simply taught creativity during COVID, but also implemented it within their lessons as well. Ms. Miller, who teaches 3D art, came up with unique ways to combat the challenges of limited art supplies for students at home by finding new ways to define what 3D art was. One instance of this redefining was when 3D art students did projects where they printed papers and folded them into different 3D shapes.

In regards to fine art taught by Mrs. Buote, Petkov said that “in school [she] was provided with [supplies]” that she needed for projects. Students worked on many projects such as focusing on shading, and realistic drawings such as eyes.

Sky Kwak (‘21), a student taking AP Art, found benefits to doing art online. “If we do work in school, we usually transport pieces from school to home and back, which was tiresome. I like the flexibility of online courses because I can do my work whenever,” she said. As a virtual student, Kwak says that she has enough supplies, as she has been getting her own materials since middle school, but still goes to the craft store if she runs out.

I like the flexibility of online courses because I can do my work whenever.”

— Sky Kwak ('21)

She also reflected on the cons of AP Art online, which included not getting “immediate feedback from [her] teacher after [she asks] her a question” about a project she was working on. A student taking an art class this year has undoubtedly had a different experience than a student taking an art class any other year.

But, one thing remains true no matter what year it is. The classes that teach something unteachable, can uncover a buried passion, and turn imagination into a form of expression, will always be East’s art classes.

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