Art vs. Wrestling

January 14, 2008
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After receiving my daughter’s schedule for this school year, I was dismayed to discover that her 7th grade art experience would consist of only one quarter’s worth of classes. I know that many programs across the country have suffered as a result of funding woes, but the physical education classes last half of the year. Why not art? Given the choice, I’m sure she’d much rather work on something creative rather than try to memorize the rules of flag football or wrestling.

One of my favorite articles from our Pottery Production Practices Sourcebook last year detailed the ceramic arts program developed by Lee Hazelgrove at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, Va. (“Discovering a Passion for Ceramic Art”). Writes Scott Campbell, “The program initially sought to provide students with a beginner level experience with clay, including working on the wheel, hand building, decorating and glazing. Within the first few years, it had grown to a sequential curriculum incorporating intro level and advanced ceramics, advanced sculpture, 3-D design principals, and a junior-senior year intensive study in ceramics.” What exciting opportunities!

Programs such as this one provide students with a creative outlet that most will not likely find on their own. How many professional potters caught the clay bug in their middle or high school art programs? And how many potentially fantastic potters will miss out on their calling because their school system has reduced or even eliminated its art offerings?

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