At HAFTR High School, several focus-study programs are available to students. One of them is the Art Institute, which is a prestigious elective program directed by Mrs. Dale Malekoff. Those students who are interested are required to draw and shade a still life to be accepted into the program. This assessment can be done at the end of eighth or ninth grade. The program is structured to allow students to learn to work with different media each year. Freshman year, students work with clay. They knead and shape the clay and then paint it once it has been fired in the kiln. The second year is called Studio Art I.
Students work with pencil, charcoal, marker, pastel, and other dry media. The third year, Studio Art II, is painting; students learn to work with acrylic, tempera, watercolor, and oil paints. Senior year, there are two options, Portfolio Development and Advanced Placement in Studio Art/Drawing.
Every year Mrs. Malekoff orchestrates an educational trip to a museum. This year, on December 16, we went to the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney recently moved locations and is now downtown. At the museum, we split into two groups, the upper classmen and the lower classmen. Each group evaluated and analyzed four pieces of art from American artists.
I loved the trip. Even though we looked at very few pieces, each piece was looked at with a critical eye. The docent opened my mind by introducing a new thought process when considering art. Light is an important tool that the artist can employ. Light can represent hope, darkness can represent despair. The length of shadows may indicate the time of day, which can then symbolize many other emotions or state of mind. The color tones that the artist used in the scene have a similar effect to that of light. A person should not only look at what is depicted in the art piece, but the time and situation with which it was created. Many times, an artist creates works to comment on the way of life or the collective mind of society in the specific era. Once a person considers all of the different aspects of the work, he can truly appreciate it. Thank you to Mrs. Malekoff for escorting us to such an amazing museum; we hope to incorporate what we learned into our artistic endeavors.