Thousands of pieces of student art from across the Newhall School District will be on display for public viewing Thursday, June 6, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Valencia Valley School, 23601 Carrizo Drive, Valencia.
NSD’s Visual Arts Program reaches two thousand fourth and fifth grade students in more than seventy-five classes at ten different schools in intensive six week cycles of instruction to train them in a standards-based approach. A hallmark is the emphasis on integrating the arts with language arts, mathematics, science, and history social science standards. Visual arts in every medium, style and subject has been submitted for the show.
John Fossa, the district’s visual arts teacher delivers a sequential, skills-based visual arts program and he assists regular classroom teachers in supplementing the visual arts program by providing training, materials, and sample lessons.
“While our students certainly produce some spectacular artwork, our program is not about teaching every student to be the next Picasso,” said Fossa. “It’s about helping students develop the skills to express ideas and understand their world through the arts. When you see this work from across the district all collected in one place you can’t help but be impressed by what these children can do.”
In each of Fossa’s lessons students are introduced to a specific art concept, taught to recognize and analyze it, and then given an opportunity to apply the concept in an independent project. Each lesson includes an art history link, with the introduction of works by certain artists or a discussion of historical or cultural context. Each lesson contains a creative component where students develop a piece of artwork of their own. Students critique and evaluate their own and each others’ artwork during an aesthetic valuing component. Classroom teachers are provided with suggestions for lessons and activities they can use to reinforce art concept after the visual arts teacher moves on.
Budget cuts have forced school districts throughout California to reduce or eliminate arts programs. But in Newhall the arts have been a priority and they have thrived, in spite of budget woes. In Newhall’s visual arts program, and in its 35+ year old music program, art has become something more than just an activity in which students participate – it is a field of expression and skill development within which students grow.
“Parents are grateful that the district has organized a fine arts program, and they want to see it succeed, so their support for our program has been strong,” said Marc Winger, superintendent. “We expect hundreds of proud artists and thousands of parents to walk through this one-night art show.”