NOTE: THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. SEE ALL D & C ARTICLES.
• March 13, 2013
Art is back at Franklin. After a year absence because of limited funding, art classes are again being offered at Vanguard Collegiate. Just in time for Sue Hollister to find a new home and present her student’s work at the Arts Ed. Open House at the RCSD Central Office Building.
Visual arts teacher Hollister, also the Coordinator of The Cypher, an after-school arts program for at-risk youth in Downtown Rochester, is thrilled:
After a year of being an itinerant teacher, split between 3 schools, I am so grateful to be in one place again so that I can make a positive impact on the Vanguard community and arts programs. The arts give students an opportunity to express themselves and acquire innovative skills in a way that other disciplines just do not. And the pride on their faces when they hear or see other people appreciating the artwork they created, makes my job so amazing.
At last night’s opening, students, parents, faculty, and community members gathered to see a variety of art created by both elementary and secondary students in the Rochester City School District. The exhibit, which celebrates Youth Art Month, will be on display through the end of March. Check out the Rochester cityscape created by Nepali-born Bijaya Mahat, who has limited English language skills but is capable of communicating fluently through the medium of pastels.
Just look at the enthusiasm – no disengagement in sight. Luckily for Hollister and her students, her art program will continue to grow because of the incredibly supportive administration at Vanguard. This is not always the case at other schools, as they are dealing with many obstacles that seem to shelter the relevancy and importance of the arts, in light of the new state-mandated Common Core Learning Standards. As Hollister says:
The main purpose of the recent CCLS initiative is to ensure that high school students are prepared for and can be successful in college. Collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication are just part of the long list of skills that are taught through the arts. These are the skills that our urban youth are lacking. They don’t need more tests to prove what they don’t know; they need more creative opportunities to express what they do.
Art makes city schools better.