Plainview ISD students benefit from fine arts courses
Whether a student is drawn to theater, music or visual arts, the Plainview ISD middle school and high school Fine Arts Departments have course offerings to meet and build on those interests.
The district is well-known for our award-winning bands and choirs. Our excellent theatre productions are a long standing tradition, well-received and much anticipated. Perhaps less on display are the many accomplishments of our visual arts departments.
Beginning in middle school, students may elect to take art classes during their, sixth, seventh or eighth grade year with no pre-requisite for any grade level. Each year approximately 350 students take art classes at the middle schools. Estacado art classes are taught by Jay Coleman and Coronado art classes are taught by Rigo Rey.
“At the middle school level we try to give students a ‘taste’ of all things art, instead of focusing on a specialty like painting or ceramics,” said Rey.
“Sixth grade is more of an introduction class where we focus on learning the building blocks of art. Seventh and eighth grades students are in combined classes where we go a little more in depth into assignments. We learn about different artists and different artistic styles.”
Ash High School art students study sketching, acrylic painting and general art. Their teacher, Anna Willey, encourages her students to use a combination of talent and imagination in creating landscapes, portraits, masks and painted skulls.
For Plainview High School students in grades 9-12, there are seven visual art courses offered within the Fine Arts Department - Art 1 for beginners, Painting 2, 3, and 4, and Ceramics 2, 3, and 4. The campus currently has 317 students enrolled in art classes under two teachers. Sharon Hughes teaches Art 1 and all of the Ceramics classes; Julee Patterson teaches Art 1 and all of the Painting classes.
“Ceramics 2 and Painting 2 are beginning classes into that specialty. Students select their class depending on their interest in two-dimensional or three-dimensional art,” said Patterson. “Ceramics 3 and 4, and Painting 3 and 4 are classes for advanced art students. These students work at more of a college level and create portfolios of art. Students can use these portfolios to apply for college or outside programs.”
Both middle school and high school students have the opportunity to enter their work in competitions.
More than 20 works were submitted by PHS visual arts students to the West Texas Regional Scholastic Arts competition and Exhibition held recently at the Abraham Art Gallery on the Wayland Baptist University campus. The competition involved students from a 20-county area in West Texas. Students competed in categories including painting, drawing digital art, photography, fashion design, jewelry, and video production. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges based on originality, technique, and composition. The art remained on display at the gallery during the month of January.
Of the 20 works they submitted, the PHS art and ceramic students took home eight awards. Yingzhi (Carrie) Huang received a Gold Key award which allows her project to advance to competition in New York City; DeeAnna Garcia, Savannah Wilson, and Enrique Paredes received Silver Key awards; and Samantha Gutierrez, Leticia Reyna, Sage Garza, Jewel Torres, and Yingzhi (Carrie) Huang received Honorable Mention awards.
Middle school students also entered the Wayland Scholastic Arts competition. Coronado students receiving awards include Alan Lopez, Gold Key; Adolfo Martinez, Silver Key; and Tiffany Gattis, Honorable Mention. Estacado award winners include Oryan Enriques, Gold Key; Kaylie Kincaid, Gold Key; and Honorable Mention awards to Roland Bollinger, Gyseelle Diaz, Mark Garcia, Sydney Hamm, Tyler Rodriquez, Rudy Rosales, Preston Stevenson, and Xavier Vasques.
The high school students also enter art work into the Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE). The 2017 regional competition will be held at Frenship High School on February 18.
“We have several students competing in that event,” said Patterson. “It is a state event that is run by the Texas Art Education Association or TAEA. It is an elite competition that PHS hasn’t competed in in many years, but we are back at it and expect great results.”
“Students will not only show their artwork, but will be interviewed by an art professor from a college. Students will receive rankings of a 1, 2, 3, or 4 at this competition. If a student receives a ‘4’ on their artwork and interview, that student has the chance to be chosen to go to state. The state competition is in San Antonio on April 28-29. Students who advance to state have the opportunity to win scholarships and the highest award earned at VASE is the Gold Seal. If a student earns a Gold Seal, their art work will travel and be put in exhibits all over the nation.”
A small number of PHS students are also involved in the Saturday Morning Art Project (SMAP) at Texas Tech University.
“Every year we are given a certain number of students that we can nominate and this year we received two spots,” said Patterson. “We nominated two talented, hardworking students that were interested in learning more about college and enjoy art. The two students involved in SMAP 2017 for the spring semester are Eliah Ybarra and Yingzi Huang.”
The district recognizes that there are a growing number of career opportunities available for students interested in the arts.
The Internet has made it possible for those who have skills in painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, fashion design, and more to market and sell products directly to the public. There are also opportunities for graphic artists, web designers, animators, and other digital artists to pursue careers.
The National Endowment for the Arts notes that “A surge in demand for multimedia artists, animators, and illustrators—especially those who are computer – and technology-savvy—is projected for 2018, due to companies’ demand for advertising in online and digital formats.”
PHS students interested in a career in the arts have access to additional art-related courses available through the Career and Technology Education (CTE) program. Students can elect to study Principals of Arts, A/V Technology and Communication, Animation, Audio/ Video Production, Fashion Design, Advanced Fashion Design and Floral Design.
The availability of arts education comes with an added bonus. Numerous research studies have shown that engaging in the study of fine arts improves learning outcomes in all areas.
A study by James Catterall, leading professor and Chair of the Faculty at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, found that involvement in the arts - both Visual Art and Performing Art - is associated with higher levels of attainment in both high school and university, especially for students from a low-income background. Catterall also notes that studying the arts can have other positive benefits such as greater involvement in community service.
Other researchers cite evidence that students participating in the arts have reduced dropout rates, higher attendance rates, stronger connections with other students, greater self-discipline, and enhanced productivity.