Artists of Lafayette ARTISTIC EXPRESSION CONTINUes to inspire diversity at lafayette

(Above) Jane Dunn, junior, expresses herself through art during her lunch period.

Story by Jacob Ward and Grayden Kurtz

Art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across various periods of time. Research has shown that art affects the fundamental sense of self. Painting, sculpture, music, literature and the other arts are often considered to be the repository of a society's collective memory.

These many forms of art are experienced in many groups in public high school. Changing the way many students think, feel and overall approach situations in their life.

Art is something that will adapt to the time period and the situations people are in presently in this world. Many forms of art have opened up pathways and avenues for students to embark on.

It’s not just simply drawing, painting, making sculptures or ceramics. Now with the advances in the technological era of society, there are forms of multimedia like video production, graphic design and auditory productions that students are having an increasing interest in. Providing new and intriguing perspectives on what art really means and how it can affect not only our educational culture, but the culture out in the vastness of the world.

In an anonymous student survey conducted, one student had this to say about the impact of the art department, “I believe each and every student in Lafayette has a story to tell. There are different forms of art that can be expressed to tell them. This art can affect other people and give them a different perspective on others and their stories. Maybe these stories formed in art can inspire others and cause a chain reaction.”

Art is something that surrounds students everyday at school. The impacts it has can be quite influential on an individual’s academic life and social life.

Some students however have found it to be very eye-opening, taking a glimpse into a small keyhole into other people's lives, “I think that art is a great way to see students creative side displayed through their eyes. I love seeing students artwork displayed in school that I have had in a Business class. It gives me a different perspective into their lives.”

Artwork created by Colin Bakker and Zoe Harttein, displayed in front of the library.

Lauren Sakowski, head of the art department at the school, had a very grateful outlook on visualizing the work students create.

“Art itself is a reflection of culture,” Sakowski said. “Anytime a student is exposed to art, they develop insight on people that are different from them. Insight and understanding breed tolerance.”

Sakowski further explained the recent art department review and inspection, “While we’re satisfied with what we offer, everything is up for review and we’re looking at all options, especially modernizing certain elements.”

Many opportunities can arise for students who are actively involved in the department and passionate about art.

“There are various field trips that my AP classes get to go on,” Sakowski said. “The school is also constantly requesting the support from the art department on many things like set designs for theatrical performances, costumes, and various collaborations.”

Sakowski believes that as long as you have passion for any form of art, the future is open to you.

“Art classes can help with college admissions. Colleges can learn a lot about you just by looking through your portfolio of work, and it can significantly improve your chances of being accepted,” she said.

With having so many student portfolios every semester, Sakowski gets influenced for her own artistic endeavors.

“I get inspired all of the time, I have a little over one-hundred students every semester who bring new ideas and perspectives into my classroom,” she said.

Sakowski prefers to remain out of the students creative process, and instead acts as more of a guide to help find the creative inspiration.

“One of my favorite things is the collaborative aspect where I’m helping students organize their thoughts and ideas," Sakowski said.

All students are required to have one arts credit before graduating, but some students find passion in the arts. Jordan Hunter, junior, has been infatuated with art ever since she could remember.

“I just liked to create stuff. I want it to mean something to me or someone close to me otherwise what’s the point? Art isn’t the number one priority in my life, it just happens to be one of the more important factors that make me who I am,” Hunter said.

To the left is Jordan Hunter's favorite artistic piece she has created.

"I wanted to juxtapose something macabre and unnerving with something usually beautiful. I finished the first two paintings in one day and then for some reason couldn't finish the third for a solid week. Eventually I hyped myself up enough to finish it and that one became my favorite. I was really worried that it wouldn't be as good as the others," Hunter said.

Hunter also believes that different forms of art have defined her life and she is constantly inspired creatively everyday.

“It’s just why I exist I guess. I get inspired by everything going on around me. I love the juxtaposition of two contrasting elements. There’s so much beauty to be found there.”

The schools art department is constantly being developed adapting to allow more imaginative minds to spread their visions. More mediums are being introduced to bring in students.

“Making the [art] program bigger would be nice and having more resources to use would be helpful,” Hunter said.

There are other forms of art besides drawing, painting and sculpting that have increasingly gained student's interest. Photography and videography are big subsections of multimedia.

Jakob Porter, senior, received a camera for his sixteenth birthday, and fell in love with the world of photography. Porter is hoping to major in cinematography when he goes to college.

Photos taken by Jakob Porter.

“At first I thought it was cool taking pictures. It was just for fun and messing around. I started getting interested in creating different shot setups and having certain colors pop out,” Porter said. “Photography was just something I slowly began to become interested in and then I realized I’d want to have a job like this someday.”

Along with the drawing and multimedia arts comes the musical artistic expression. Jacob Hinton, junior, has been passionate about playing music since he was young, now having many years of piano and cello under his belt.

“I try to practice cello about two hours a day, and I am involved in a variety of orchestras like the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and also a chamber music program. It allowed me to meet many new people and make new friends,” Hinton said.

Jacob Hinton warming up and tuning his cello before Symphonic Orchestra rehearsal.

“My Mom got me into playing the piano first, but I quickly picked it up and It brought interest to me where I didn’t expect to find it. I fell in love with it and wanted to learn more and more," Hinton said.

Hinton believes that artistic expression is important in school, and in all walks of life.

“[Music] creates a big community and everybody wants to help each other to progress even further,” Hinton said. “It allows students an outlet to express emotions like happiness and sadness where they otherwise might not feel comfortable to do so.”

Outside of our school's art department there are other avenues and classes students can take to express themselves artistically. Writing is another form of art that can be found within the classrooms of Lafayette. Pierce Buffum, senior, wrote a novel titled The Virtue which he published on Amazon, and has written various short stories as well.

Buffum believes that writing was just a skill he acquired at a very young age.

“I remember in elementary school my parents said I was able to create coherent and competent sentences while other students struggled to do that. My parents and teachers would compliment me early on about my writing,” Buffum said.

Buffum believes that writing has been a cathartic release for his emotions, and helps him escape from the struggles in his day-to-day life.

“[Writing is] really something that when I start writing I get to get into the mind a little bit, and if I’m writing fiction it allows me to escape from reality for a while,” Buffum said.

Buffum finds artistic expression through his personal experiences, he pulls inspiration from his own life.

“I write based on what I struggle and project that onto how the characters might feel in certain situations, and what they are struggling with in devastating situations.” Buffum said.

Buffum is thankful for the creative support and advice from his teacher Ms. Tracy Gladden, whom he is a cadet teacher for, and his parents in their support of his writing.

“My parents always have been one of strongest support systems, although they do feed into the rhetoric a bit of how writers don’t make money. I just have a lot of passion for it, and I say that passion should be the same for anyone who wants to become a writer,” Buffum said.

Art can be found in many different avenues and genres around Lafayette, bringing unique qualities of each student in their expressions of themselves. Lafayette has had a history of art, found throughout the halls, students are still express the present through the many ways and passions of art.

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