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SECCA Visits JFK Art Students

Alex BrownSeptember 21, 2022 – The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art treated John F. Kennedy High School art students to a first-hand look at the professional world of media arts with their portable gallery last week.

Students got to take gallery walks through their own classroom that allowed them to engage with diverse pieces from local artists. SECCA Education Director Alex Brown led engaging discussions with the students that both explored the nature of the pieces on display and generated ideas for how the students could incorporate that nature into their own work. Since the gallery came through, students have been working on their own pieces inspired by the gallery. It’s one of many ways that they can use their community as inspiration for their art.

New Works“Art is an integral part of our world,” Visual Art Teacher Jeanne Arzillo said. “We hope to teach the students to perceive the world around them with a deeper appreciation, regardless of their chosen path.”

The purpose of the portable gallery is to provide more access to contemporary arts to students in communities with less exposure to them. At JFK, students are encouraged to study art in a wide variety of forms and styles and use everything they learn to help craft their unique artistic voice. The students who got to work with SECCA feel empowered by the wealth of options they have in their classes and the way it promotes taking ownership of the work they create.

New Works“We have a lot of creative freedom,” Destiny Barrera Ortiz said of her classes. “If it wasn’t for us having good teachers, I don’t know if it would be as enriching as it is.”

The presentation of the gallery coincided with National Arts in Education Week, where school systems all over the country celebrated the role that the arts play in helping students become engaged and well-rounded members of society. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools prizes the artistic enrichment of its students, and achieving that goal means connecting arts education with the places in society where its impacts shine through the most, such as with the artists at SECCA. Visual Art Teacher Dr. Kelly Ann Kotowski-Manns says that bringing in community members who use what they once learned in an art Browsingclass makes education much more real and effective for her students.

“Art is not just coming into a classroom and drawing,” Dr. Kotowski-Manns said. “I really want to make art come alive.”

Jake Browning
jbrowning2@wsfcs.k12.nc.us
(336) 727-8213 Ext. 70545