Artists exist around the corner at New Ulm public high school. With activities such as music, foods, musical theater, woods, and basic art forms, this school offers it all. But I decided to focus on the basic art ways. Opportunities exist for anyone with a creative mind and skillful hands. I decided to take a walk around the school and see what kind of projects the students have produced over this year.
The journey began where most art related classes take place, room 126. Here we have classes offered like art foundations, drawing/painting, pottery, advanced pottery, advanced art, and interior design. These classes are taught by the school’s two art teachers, Mr. Janke and Mrs. Gusso. Art Foundations is the base course for all the other art classes offered. You have to complete this course before you can enroll in the more advanced classes. In this class, students will develop and sharpen their skills in drawing, painting, and watercolors. Janke said, “Just like any skill- based task, it takes a lot of practice to keep getting better. Most people, if they dedicate the time and really analyze their skill, can make great improvements. Some people are born with more of a natural ability as well.”
Pottery is usually taught by Mr. Janke, the only art teacher who came over with the new school. However, last semester Gusso took over a section of pottery and went to work. One of the projects that the class worked on was called the cultural project. Students molded, shaped, and pinched chucks of clay to create iconic art pieces from different cultures, but in their own styles. But of course, students were also allowed to freestyle creations of their own creativity, putting twists on simple things like vases, bowls, and plates.
But art doesn’t have to just be created with paper, paint, or clay. In this modern day, art can also be created digitally on the computer. The school offers digital design as a class for students to learn how to use photoshop and the basics of animation. Janke is the only teacher at the school who teaches this class, but he loves it. He has the students create awesome pieces and projects like the veggie head, movie poster, and the homecoming button every year. Janke said, “There are some very good projects again this year. Students are doing a good job of getting ideas from past examples and putting their own touches on them.” Students will also have to make a stop motion animation project and a movie commercial.
Art can also be seen in physical actions as well. The theater and music classes are both examples of this. Music art can be both seen and heard. From dancing to singing, and playing an instrument, it’s all considered art. The band helps rally the audience to help cheer whatever team may be playing, even coming along to play for our hockey boys when they went to state this school year. The band also sometimes plays alongside the choir, helping in concerts and such. The choir is another way for students to express themselves musically. The theater combines both these classes into one big production. While not really a class itself, it allows students who don’t mind a little limelight the chance to show their skills in acting and singing for the enjoyment of the public. Band, singing, and traditional art forms are all used to bring the show altogether.
High school is only the beginning for a young artist to figure out what they are best at and what is most fun for them. Many people or parents turn their noses up at students who want to continue in the art field, believing that there are not many good paying careers. However, this is not the case in this modern day. There are plenty of art related careers to look into, such as graphic designer, animator, comic book artist, interior/exterior designer, and many more. Many colleges offer art degrees with really attractive art programs. Schools like Minnesota State University in Mankato or the University of Minnesota in Duluth offer art programs along with a wide choice of other degrees. You could even go to an all-focus art school like the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Mrs. Gusso said, “I’m jealous of the kids who get to attend MCAD. It really is a great school with lots of opportunities.”