COVID-19 forces Staples art classes to alter midterms


Photos contributed by Kate Stephan ’21

This vase was created this fall and the piece will be included in Kate Stephan’s ’21 mid-year portfolio project.

As with many things both inside and out of Staples, art classes are running a bit differently this year. Everything from chorus to painting and graphic design have had to make adjustments for our hybrid schedule and students who are fully remote. This change extends to the midterms and finals of these courses. 

Carla Eichler, a teacher for Graphic Design 1 and 2, stated that these classes typically have a digital portfolio as well as a written reflection. Instead, this year, they will have a smaller sharing activity.

“Of course I would prefer to have the students create the web portfolio, but due to the time limitations of the current schedule the class time is better spent on art creation,” Eichler said.

This change is similar to those of other classes, like AP Studio Art, which will have a mid-year portfolio for their exam. Kate Stephan ’21, who is taking the course as a semester independent learning study, said 

I wish that I would have been able to be in school throughout the entirety of the week in order to accumulate and make my portfolio pieces at the usual pace, but I am happy for the experience I do get when I am in the pottery studio on Thursdays and Fridays.”

It seems that, while not ideal, the art department has successfully adjusted midterm projects for this unusual year. For Animation, a class where in prior years students have received a cumulative exam that was partially skill-based, a portfolio and a reflection, they will only be responsible for the digital portfolio. 

There is not a project I would have preferred to assign as the portfolio seems to be an appropriate way for students to reflect on the artwork they created,” Justin Shay, an Animation teacher this school year, said.

Despite the online learning aspects, students are able to be creative outside of the classroom with their art assignments and enjoy the process. For animation classes, students have created stop motion videos. 

“It’s been really fun experimenting with new styles of animation and learning new programs to make our movies,” Jaime Hebel ’21 said.

Students have found ways to adapt to the new assignments, whether that is in Animation, AP Studio Art, or Chorus classes, which will not have a midterm or final this year.  

“I think it’s actually helpful to know more music theory,”  Jad Makuch ’21 said. “Chorus has been different than other years, but it is still fun.”