Art is back in session at Sunset School.
Direct art instruction was eliminated at the school years ago due to budget cuts, but thanks to a $60,000 grant it is one of 13 schools in Oregon to participate in the Studio to School program. The program partners Sunset with local Coos Art Museum (CAM).
CAM provides exhibitions, galleries and a variety of classes, including acrylic painting, watercolors, book binding and Zentangle (a meditative art form that integrates structured patterns) to the community. These workshops are offered to adults, teens and sometimes children as young as 12, but can be expensive when scholarships are not available.
According to Kathleen Sizemore, Studio to School Director, the program works to bridge the gap for youth in the community and brings art to students.
“We hire instructors and bring art lessons to the kids once a month, not just visual arts but we bring in some different theatre or dance or different exposure opportunities for them,” Sizemore said.
Since the arrival of this program, fourth through sixth grade students have studied many aspects of art such as still life, the color wheel, human figure, first person perspective, watercolor and making cigar box guitars.
Sizemore said the students are currently learning how to apply art into their everyday lives.
“What we’re working on right now is art integration, integrating art into the core subjects that the teachers at the school can actually use to teach whatever they’re teaching. Whether it’s math or science or anything like that,” Sizemore said.
Sixth grade teacher Rebecca Peters said the Studio to School program has helped her students.
“I’ve noticed kids are more creative, even with a simple language arts assignment where they have to read a nonfiction article and create an advertisement based on the topic,” Peters said. “Kids, now if they have an assignment just like that, or they have to make a brochure or something, they really have an eye for design and layout and that’s something that’s really hard to teach.”
According to Sizemore, art skills are not the only things students can gain from art classes, but also a new perspective.
“I think art helps you see the world in a different way,” Sizemore said. “I believe that artists are more observant and take in things that you might not.”
Some of the work created in conjunction with the program is on display at the museum, located at 235 Anderson Ave, across from Rife’s Home Furniture, until Feb.16.