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Best of the Week 2019-2020: Excellence in College Prep


St. Ed's Visual Arts Department provides students with opportunities to constantly practice, experiment and try new techniques that will prepare them for success in visual arts at the college level. Current students in Visual Arts Department Chair Mrs. Molly King's advanced pottery and sculpture classes have been advancing their skill sets by using new sculpting and firing methods. Students in the Advanced Pottery course have been working hard on recreating large, archaic bowls from ancient times, mimicking the structure, design and intricate patterns that made these bowls functional in their time while simultaneously telling stories of different cultures and peoples. Having completed their work perfecting teapots and bowls, this new project has introduced students to a new method of reproducing coil pots that will ultimately prepare them for more advanced slab construction and utilizing a potter's wheel. Additionally, this experience allows students to tap into other cultural techniques while forming an appreciation for differing artistic styles.

Similarly in the Advanced Sculpture courses, students have advanced from traditional clay formation, firing and glazing skills to learning the solid built modeling method to sculpt an animal of their choice as well as an alternative firing method known as Raku, a post-firing process in which students directly place their sculptures into an open flame. Throughout this course, students are encouraged to develop their creativity from creating three-dimensional artwork that ranges from furniture and reproductions to pop art and self-portraits. "Art is about seeing, doing and problem-solving, then seeing more, changing and problem solving again. I don't teach art. I teach our students how to see and give them the skills to respond to what they see using certain mediums," says Mrs. King. "The animal sculpture project is one of the best ways to teach this. We think we know what a certain animal looks like, but when you are required to draw or sculpt one, you begin to see how they relate to us and how similar and connected we are to everything on the planet."

From ceramics and pottery to painting and graphic design, St. Ed's Visual Arts offerings provide students from all grade levels with opportunities to express who they are through different mediums, circling back to St. Ed's mission of educating the hearts and minds of our students. "Innovation is problem-solving and all the arts are about learning how to see a problem and respond to it. I believe art is very similar to sports - keep practicing and you'll get better," says Mrs. King. By allowing them the chance to express themselves artistically while gaining problem-solving skills in an environment that promotes risk-taking and creativity, students form well-rounded skill sets to excel in their future endeavors. "The most impressive characteristic of my students is their willingness to keep trying and their excitement to learn," says Mrs. King. "I teach art at the college level and, from what I've seen, our Edsmen quickly gain the skills here at St. Ed's to produce college-level work. I love how brave and confident our students are with their art and I hope they bring these characteristics with them into whatever they do in life."

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