Regardless of department, the shift from in-person instruction to distance learning has posed challenges to every teacher. Some classes, especially the more lecture-based ones, were fairly easily converted to the new internet platform, as the nature of these courses made them receptive to limited student engagement and collaboration during class time.
Visual Arts classes faced similar difficulties because they require specialized material and personal instruction. Visual Arts Chair Ms. Elizabeth Wepsic is pleased with the new and innovative platforms her department has found, saying, “It’s actually been amazing.”
One big obstacle these classes have faced is how to distribute supplies. The arts department solved the issue by having each student visit campus to collect a canvas tote filled with basic art supplies. Students who needed more specialized materials were encouraged to reach out to their teachers, who could order the supplies online to supplement the basics they were provided with.
“It’s definitely different,” notes AP Studio Art senior Brooke Weatherup, “Class time is spent brainstorming or getting one-on-one feedback, and it’s strange not to interact with your classmates or be in the studio.” For Brooke, who works mostly in the ceramic studio, it has been hard to replicate the same environment at home. She laughs, noting, “I mean… I don’t have a kiln at home!”
While there have definitely been obstacles, COVID-19 has had possibly beneficial effects on the work these students produce. Ms. Wepsic thinks that “without a ton of external influence, creative ideas surface.” She went on to say, “It’s a time to imagine, daydream, and build better art-making habits.”