NOTE: THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE. SEE ALL D & C ARTICLES.
• March 10, 2014
As I travel throughout the District, art classes are often my favorite destinations. This year alone I have helped and watched students make Egyptian Sarcophagus with Hieroglyphics at Dr. Walter Cooper Academy, at Enrico Fermi street art cartoons inspired by Rochester’s Wall Therapy, papier-mâché piñata’s in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Franklin, and Australian aboriginal X-Ray and Dream drawings at the Nathaniel Rochester Community School. Always I am much impressed.
So will you be — guaranteed — if you visit the annual RCSD Arts Showcase Exhibition at 131 West Broad Street running through March (the opening was on the 4th). More than 60 Arts Educators have gathered their students’ work from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Taken from a wide variety of mediums and techniques, such as drawing, painting, pastel, watercolor, ceramic, sculpture, and photography, the art represents both the undeniable passion of its creators and the dedication of their teachers.
I asked co-curator Regina Neri, who teaches at Dr. Walter Cooper, The Children’s School, and is the Managing Artist for Cypher After School Art, why art is so vital:
I believe that an Arts Education is one of the most important parts of a child’s education. Our students are most successful when they are given the opportunity to learn in many different ways. Art gives students the chance to continue their classroom learning in visual and cultural ways. Through collaboration, art teachers can provide students with different ways of understanding their classroom material visually.
Furthermore, Neri explains how art classes advance one of the fundamental missions of public education:
Personally, I believe that art education is important in my schools because it helps to equalize my students. Regardless of educational needs or language barriers when my students walk into the Art room they automatically become equal. Art class allows all learning levels to feel successful. Even if you are new to the country with little understanding of English you can still be successful visually in Art class.
From such a perspective, art can be vehicle of democracy.
For more on the 2013 Exhibition: