The Art Program At West

Esmeralda Santos, Reporter

Art has been a fundamental part in the human existence for its connection with people and the evolving history of the ancient civilizations. In the same way the art program at West High School has been offering student the opportunity of taking an elective course that encourages and promotes diversity and creativity.

The art program is ran by two exceptional teachers named Ms. Donna Valentine along with Mr. Mark Stewart, who both share desire to inspire students into broadening their horizons through art by expressing what cannot be said in words and displaying it with artistic work.

The art program has been thriving for many years at West and it has been enjoyed by many students who love to learn about pottery, drawing, painting, sculpting and the history behind it all.

To gain more insight about what the art program at West is all about, three influential art representatives have shared a sneak peak on their experience in the art program and what they have learned throughout their years devoted to the program.

Stewart has been teaching at West for about 15 years and he has been interested in art ever since he learned how to hold a pencil. At a young age his talent for art expanded and he soon came to the understanding that art was something that he would like to pursue as a career. He obtained an associates degree in graphic design and he pursued a potential career in animation. At the age of 27 he went back to school to get a bachelor’s degree in art education at age 30.  Stewart stated, “I have a relationship with art where it’s my vehicle because it leads me to places that I want to go to.” He teaches three pottery classes, a multi media design class along with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. If there could be something for students to get out of his class is to always try their best. He doesn’t expect students to be great artists; instead he encourages the class to be proud of their artwork.

West High student Hailey Huberty is very passionate about art and has been interested in expanding her artistic skills by joining art classes every year. She began drawing in elementary school while doing school projects and ever since she has been experimenting with artistry. She enjoyed the experience of taking one of Stewart’s pottery classes and soon realized how different pottery was compared to paper art that involves painting and drawing. The art program utilized all types of material variations such as paper maché, clay, acrylic paints and more. In the classes she noticed how much she has progressed with the help of the art teaches guidance. She says, “You learn what your best skill is within the art world” and the program is the best place to really discover what styles work best for every student.

A very talented student in the art program is Scott McDowell, who is currently taking art classes as one of his electives. McDowell has a distinctive approach towards his artwork because he’s very logical and he reflects that in his art projects. Valentine has influenced his artistic life by providing coaching and constructive feedback. McDowell feels that the art room is a great environment where he can really get inspired to create and imagine. It’s a place where creativity is encouraged while bringing out his best work.