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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

All visual arts are virtual

    By Lam Chung | Staff Writer

    Terri Hopper’s Art Classroom

       “Each blank sheet of paper is full of potential. Potential for success as well as potential for failure. The creative person has to face that uncertainty each time and then take a risk and dive in,” explained Gabrielino High School art instructor, Emmet Suess.

       Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, activities and extracurriculars at Gabrielino were put to a halt due to safety regulations. To many, this not only meant the loss of a sport season, or incompletion of service hours, but rather, a loss of a sense of community. 

       One of the activities that suffered these losses was the visual arts department of Gabrielino. Visual arts, a form of expression so intertwined with physicality, had to unfortunately move and adapt to online learning.

       Art students who have collected their supplies for the semester prior to the school year, have learned the techniques of brushes, markers, water colors, and more yield, all through a screen. 

       Ceramics and graphic design instructor, Terri Hopper, stated, “We handed out about 13 different art kits to over 400 students.” 

       Although the art department has found a way to adapt to the current circumstances, there are many difficulties when it comes to teaching online.

       “Virtual teaching does not lend itself to art very well at all. I can demonstrate and explain techniques using my iPad but it is really hard to make sure students are understanding and correctly doing the projects,” Hopper explained.  “Looking at projects in Google Classroom and commenting via email are not the same.”

       The online teaching process may be stressful, but to junior Alan Mong, art has been rather therapeutic.

       Mong stated,“Despite being online, I like art because I am able to learn how to draw the different styles using the principles of design.” 

       While Intro to Art students steadily learn the different art techniques, AP Art students scramble to finish their portfolios online. On the other hand, ceramics students make and drop off their creations to the front desk, awaiting for Hopper to fire their projects.

       Evidently, art classes have been severely affected by this tumultuous virus, however, art itself has become a haven during these unprecedented times. It allows many to express their uncertainty, stress, and fear through the means of painting, drawing, designing, and other mediums. 

       Suess stated, “[Students] are producing beautiful art that is a pleasure to look at but is also intelligent and communicates deeper meanings symbolically.”

       Although art classes were able to adapt to online learning, some programs associated with art were not able to do the same.

       Prior to the outbreak, the San Gabriel Unified School District had planned on unveiling a district-wide program called Portrait of a Graduate, which would foster the growth of personal characteristics and creativity, such as embracing uncertainty and finding opportunity in disruption. However, this program had to be postponed.

       Yet, even with the postponement of this program, these themes of embracing uncertainty have unexpectedly manifested themselves into reality. COVID-19 had reshaped the scope of the “normal” that the world once knew, but through the thick of devastation, art has been a gateway for many, allowing them to embrace these very uncertainties.

       As Seuss said, “One essential human faculty that separates us from all other living things on this planet, is imagination.”

       Like a blank sheet of paper, the past few months have been bleak and grim, but with those who have taken the risks and faced the uncertainty of drawing, painting, or coloring on it, the world has become a much brighter place.

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    All visual arts are virtual