The art department works together in-person for the full day schedule. Teachers and students have adapted to the changes by following social distancing guidelines and cleaning supplies and workstations. (Photo by Abby Conners)
The art department works together in-person for the full day schedule. Teachers and students have adapted to the changes by following social distancing guidelines and cleaning supplies and workstations.

Photo by Abby Conners

York Art Department thrives in their in-person atmosphere

April 27, 2021

On April 12, as York’s hybrid schedule shifted to all day in-person classes, art students and teachers found themselves back in the classroom, ready to create in-person once again. While many students previously found it difficult to work on their projects during the hybrid setup, the large influx of in-person students has caused an increase in activity and production in many classrooms.

Being back in the classroom means that teachers in the art department have had to prepare in a number of ways. They have created lesson plans, projects and prepped art supplies for students at home, then hybrid and now in-person. The teachers’ flexibility and willingness to adapt has allowed York art students to not miss a stroke.   

Fourth period ceramics students work on their latest projects in class on Friday. (Photo by Abby Conners)

“For art classes, our biggest logistical issue is getting students the supplies they need,” Art Department Coordinator and art teacher Renee Kuharchuk said. “This means we’ve prepared supply kits for each art student to have the necessary supplies at home. With students coming back into the classroom, we also had to prepare materials for them to use at school as well. In some of our art rooms this also means moving tables/chairs around to accommodate more spacing.”

The classroom dynamic has also seen several changes. Art students especially thrive when allowed the opportunity to compare and critique each other’s creations.  However, students are finding the social distancing restrictions to be limiting. Senior Madison Brown, who went back in-person on April 12, commented on the changes she has seen from assignments to spacing.

A refill station for acrylic painters is set up in one of the York art rooms. The board states, “Need more paint? 1. Sanitize hands, 2. Fill a cup with desired color, 3. Sanitize again!” (By Abby Conners)

“There are definitely changes to the classroom dynamic, just like any other class,” Brown said. “For watercolor, we don’t have as many assignments this year. In my dance class, we also have to dance spaced out so there are not as many options for creating formations.”

Despite the modifications required to keep to social distancing, art department members are also thrilled by the benefits of being back in the classroom together. As artists, they are able to work together more organically when being in-person. Additionally, they are not limited to the supply kits provided when they were at-home learning. 

Soapy water is set out for students to use to clean their workstations “before and after use.” Students in every classroom have been cleaning their desks and workstations as well as sanitizing their hands before entering each classroom. (Photo by Abby Conners)

I think the new schedule helps to make school feel a little more ‘normal’ – the new schedule allows for students to more easily work with supplies that would otherwise be a bigger mess at home,” Kuharchuk said. “I think it’s also helpful for students to gauge where they are at by seeing other students’ art work live as they progress.”

Besides the logistical advantages from being in-person, students have also experienced several social benefits. The mental and emotional benefits of seeing and interacting directly with classmates creates a positive atmosphere making it more conducive for creativity. This is especially true for senior  students who are appreciating each day they have left at York. 

“Personally, I like the new schedule, it brings back some form of normalcy that we have missed this year,” previous hybrid and AP Art student Mallori Hecker said. “Being able to actually see and communicate with my classmates in AP Art has made me excited to come to school every day. I’m happy that we get to come back to our normal schedule for the rest of the semester, especially since the majority of the people in AP Art are seniors.”

The art department is flourishing now that the halls and classrooms are once again filled with creative minds. Teachers and students are no longer restricted to a computer screen to share ideas.  The “new-normal” may come with a few restrictions, but being back in school together is allowing the art department to thrive once more.

I’ve personally loved seeing all the students in person again!” Kuharchuk said. “I’ve really missed seeing and interacting with them outside of zoom calls so that’s been great!”

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