Famous assemblage artist Louise Nevelson once said, ''Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind.''
The goal of the Southwestern Middle School art curriculum is to allow just this, to spark creativity and to allow students to use their creative minds making art part of everyday life. Students here participate in the visual arts in grades 6-8 during which time they are able to enjoy art production, art criticism, art history studies and art appreciation. In looking at one of SWCS middle school's art portfolios you just might find faux (but visually authentic) Native American par fleches, Egyptian cartouches or Ancient Greek vessels. If you see a student walking out of class, that student might just be wearing shibori socks or a life-sized papier-mache hat. And if you ask an art student what kinds of processes they have enjoyed you might get an answer that includes making recycled paper, marbling with shaving cream or splatter painting in the method of Jackson Pollock.
Students learn simple vocabulary such as a line is a dot that took a walk to more complicated terms such as how color symbolism affects the viewer or what constitutes a utilitarian art form. If one quarter of each year isn't enough for the art-loving student, the Southwestern Middle School Art Club is in full force. The club has about 40 members this year in grades 6-8. Art club members get to create extra art projects for leisure, posters for various contests, special holiday art and even permanent wall murals. The most current mural addition to the school is on the large retaining wall in front of the main entrance of the middle school. Recently, art club members competed in a window-design competition to create a special window painting to be placed in the district copy center. Mrs. Mitchener, along with Mrs. Marsh, judged the entries and the winner was seventh-grader Brooke Latour, whose window was enlarged to the size of a real window for Mrs. Marsh to enjoy. Art Club students in all grades will also be working toward completing wall murals in the middle school music room at the request of Mrs. Christensen.
Don't forget, March is Youth Art Month. Students at Southwestern Middle School will have the opportunity to participate in the fourth annual Youth Art Month celebrations, which include schoolwide contests and a districtwide art show at the Lakewood Memorial Library. Also, in honor of Youth Art Month, students in art club will be participating in the process of developing artist trading cards and sixth-grade art students will be participating in Wordle pen pals with students from Randolph as part of a collaboration between Mrs. Renee Mitchener and Ms. Kim Weber.
It's wonderful to see such a great interest in the visual arts at Southwestern Middle School.