What About the Arts?


Image created by A. Rudolph

Take a look into how the Fine Arts Department at Green Level has dealt with the impacts of COVID-19.

Due to the current situation of quarantine we’re in right now, all schools across the United States are doing “Remote Learning,” something Green Level students are very familiar with at this point. Teachers and students have been able to adapt to this situation somewhat easily, but what is the Arts Department doing right now? Arts is not just a subject that can be taught, it is also something that you have to discover for yourself. Doing classes like theater, chorus, art, band, and dance is very hard over a screen. However, Green Level’s Art Department is powering through, and have even found some ways to connect through the internet with their art.

Mr. Mapp, our Art teacher, told me about the various ways that his students are taking advantage of the quarantine to make beauty in this time of crisis. In any Arts class, assigning work would be hard, but Mr. Mapp has a plan. “Students can choose from 34 different art projects that I created or found online. They can use these prompts, alter the prompts or just create their own work.” Students are able to let their creative juices flow under these assignments. Mr. Mapp and his classes also got lucky that he told his students to bring their supplies home with them. But if they forgot this detail and are without traditional art supplies, Mr. Mapp has a solution. “I have given them resources to show how you can use cake icing, food dye, make up, charcoal, shoe polish and all sorts of other everyday objects to make art. Sometimes not having access to traditional art materials can make you more creative and that is just what some of our students are doing. In art and design we call these creative constraints.” These classes are also answering journal prompts about art every week. “I have been making my own art during this time, creating collages to raise money for artists who are currently out of work and by working on photo projects based on the pandemic. I can not imagine a world without making art. It is so important to me and to our students.” But Mr. Mapp and his students aren’t the only ones making the best of quarantine with their art form.

Mr. Myers, our band teacher here at Green Level, is also still keeping his students active in their art. All the band students luckily have access to all their instruments and continue their practicing during this. “Some of our most fun and interactive sessions have been when I open office hours for anyone who wants to come and play online games. This has been a really fun way to connect… and has really been the most “normal” things have felt over the past month.” The band students are also using other online resources for their music. They are using a website for their sight reading that is temporarily being made free. Virtual learning has also helped some students step out of their shell. “During our online sessions, students are becoming more and more comfortable volunteering to play and demonstrate for the class.” Mr. Myers has also been posting a weekly ear training challenge on social media for his students. In these challenges Mr. Myers plays a tune and the students have to learn how to play the tune by ear on their own instruments at home. The last thing that these band students have been doing to take advantage of this quarantine is that a couple weeks ago during our “spring break” band students from all over wake county played their fight song on their instruments while standing on their front porches. This movement was a really powerful moment! 

Ms. Pope, Green Level’s Dance teacher, told me that her students have been studying choreography. “Each student is studying and exploring their own creative voices by creating their own movements based on prompts and tools that I am giving them.” The dance classes are also having guest speakers from NY that are professional dancers to come in and discuss choreography with them. Since most of the students dance outside of school for different studios, many of them are already doing online work from them. Ms. Pope is also teaching a master class that students can use for extra supplement for the class. 

Mr. Olson, Green Level’s chorus teacher, assured me that his classes are still singing! “So far, we’ve just done some short clips of individuals singing. It’s a great time to truly develop as a solo voice.” The chorus classes are really taking advantage of this time to grow their own voice. In the next few weeks Green Level’s chorus will be creating a virtual choir. For those of you who don’t know what a virtual choir is, here is a great example of one. “Basically, through some advanced editing, we’ll be able to simulate everyone singing together through our screens. I think it’s an incredible message of unity that our art form can still come together even at the time when we are most separated. I can’t wait to get to work on it!” 

All of these classes are really thinking outside of the box! Thank you to the teachers that are working so hard during this confusing time!