Program preps students pursuing art

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Zoe Brown, Editor-in-Chief

They spent long weeks, long hours, long nights working on projects.

They cleaned clay that was caked under their fingernails, stained their pants with paint, used up all the space on their hard drive.

But the hard work and devotion of some Staples art students and the art department has clearly paid off. Many of these students will be delving deeper into the study of their passion as they go on to pursue art in college.

These artists say that much of their everlasting love of art stemmed from the support of their art teachers.

Megan Foreman ’14, who enjoys painting above all other art forms and will be studying next year at the University of Michigan’s Art and Design School, said her favorite part of the art program at Staples was the teachers.

“They were so motivating and encouraging and always had positive things to say,” Foreman said. Whenever Foreman felt frustrated with the difficulty of Photoshop and Illustrator, her art teacher Carla Eichler would encourage her to practice.

Another student most values a different aspect of the Staples art community. Chris Copeland ’14, who will be attending the Art School within Carnegie Mellon University next year, loves the variety of people that make up the art classes.

“Almost a ‘Breakfast Club’ type thing, ya know? It’s this mish mosh of different kinds of people, a clash of personalities,” Copeland said.

Art teacher Camille Eskell values the fact that a majority of her students are repeats, allowing the teachers and students to form strong relationships that carry into the high morale of the classroom.

“We get to know the students better, especially if we have them semester after semester, which happens a lot,” Eskell said.

Staples’ seven art teachers offer 30 different art classes, ranging from Mural Painting to Design and Technology.

Craig Gelman ’14, who will be attending University of Utah for graphic design, has taken six art classes throughout his Staples career and says he learned a different useful skill in each one. Design and Tech taught him to make art on the computer. Water color taught him how to understand coloring and shading. Silkscreen taught him to make logos and place them on t-shirts. Gelman hopes these skills will help him to one day design graphics for ski, snowboard or skateboard companies.

Alice McDonald ’14 took eight art classes during her time at Staples, and said she wishes she had taken even more. McDonald said she owes her confidence in her artwork to the variety of art classes offered here.

McDonald, who will be attending the Rhode Island School of Design in the fall, is nervous but still looking forward to next year.

“It’ll be both intimidating and exciting to be working next to such incredibly talented people, but it’s important to not let that intimidation affect your own creativity,” McDonald said.

Many art students, including Copeland, aspire to acquire a career involving creativity. “The hope is to have a creative job involving art,” Copeland said. “It’s scary for me to think about having a job that’s not creative, so I’m going to work my hardest to try and make that happen.”

McDonald believes that continuing with art in college is different than anything else because it’s hard to have a definite answer to anything.

“Only you know when your work is truly finished,” McDonald said.

Eskell agrees that pursuing art in college can be difficult, and even more difficult than when she went, she said. With the crazy advancements in technology that this century has seen, especially with the web, Eskell believes that students have even more choice in the art world.

“Everything is visual. Everything. These students have more opportunities to use their talents in a variety of ways,” she said.

That’s why Eskell tries to prepare her students for what’s ahead.

“I don’t play around with them. I give my advanced kids a college experience as best as I can,” she said.

For example, Eskell has her students interpret writing pieces such as Dante’s Inferno, a book-long poem, and portray a part of the poem through art.

Despite the long hours that these students have clocked into and will continue to clock into their art, their passion is still clear.

“I’ve actually heard that people [in college] just sleep in the studio rooms overnight,” McDonald said. “But I know that at the end of the day, there’s nothing I’d rather do than pursue art.”