The Effect of Art of Coshocton’s High School Students
A number of studies have been conducted recently to support the assertion that learning in the arts is good for the student and good for society. Researchers have proven that taking art classes helps young people increase their academic achievements and contributes to their positive social development. They perform higher on standardized tests. They develop skills and habits of mind that make for better thinkers and workers.
The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is currently exhibiting high school artwork from our local schools, public, private and home. I wondered how some of these young artists would describe the value of studying art. Why take art classes in high school when it is not a required subject? What effect does it have on your study habits and manner of thinking?
Helen Bice, a senior at Ridgewood High School, won a First Place in Painting for A Walk, a small watercolor with a Japanese minimalist feeling about it. Applying only a few brush strokes, Helen created an airy, intriguing painting. She has been interested in art since she was a small child. Both of her parents attended Pittsburgh Art Institute and are painters. Like her parents, Helen loves to paint and hopes to continue taking art courses at COTC next year. Art helps her relieve stress and express her emotions. It’s a way to calm and center herself, a necessary prerequisite for thinking ideas through.
Jessica Davis from River View High School also won a First Place. Her mixed media work, a mosaic using small colored paper, was a self-portrait that included a photograph of herself. The picture is light-hearted and whimsical. Jessica, a senior, has been drawing since she was young. She loved taking art classes because they involve more than the brain. They require thinking and doing and are just more fun. She appreciates her teacher, Malinda Baker, who encourages everyone and takes the time to work with students individually. Mrs. Baker teachers the students art appreciation so they learn not only art techniques such as drawing and blending colors, but also social studies. Every year one of Mrs. Baker’s classes studies ancient Egyptian art and the students use this knowledge to recreate their own Egyptian art.
As a child, Jared Cotterman always had a sketchbook in his hand. He was so busy drawing that he didn’t have time to do the mundane, like clean his room. Jared has several works on display at the Museum. His Variations on “Dreams” won an Honorable Mention in Drawing. Rendered in colored pencil, Jared’s picture has a fantasy theme—a human-sized, green grasshopper is approaching a human-like creature who is sleeping on a bed.