Most students who have taken an interest in the fine arts are in search of ways they can share their work with the world after putting in a notable amount of effort into their projects.
Luckily for a few local high school students, just such an opportunity for recognition rests here at the MHCC campus. The Visual Arts Gallery is hosting its annual High School Show, giving artists from the region a chance to showcase their hard work. All of the art will be open to Mt. Hood students, staff and the public through May 3.
For students, being involved in fine arts subjects like ceramics or painting can be very beneficial to their overall success in school. It gives them a chance to work productively on something other than their regular studies such as math and science, and it often includes something they find fun and interesting. Especially with high school students who already bear a sizable amount of academic pressure, it is important that they find an extracurricular subject they enjoy that can give them a break from their core classes and help balance their workload.
Centennial was among the high schools to submit work to the gallery this year, including four paintings from two juniors. One of the paintings looked representative of Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” and each of the paintings that were sent in took about a couple weeks to create.
According to Centennial art teacher Michael Grubar, the high school didn’t send in work for last year’s show, but the two students were excited to share their paintings in order to overcome whatever fears they had of their work not being perfect, or up to their own standards.
As Grubar explains to his students, “I may make this look easy, but that’s because I’ve been doing it for 30 years.” He has been teaching art for 13 years now, and he says he has noticed a big decline in the school district’s attention towards the fine arts, primarily due to budget cuts made back in 2007 to 2009. He is now the only art teacher at Centennial, whereas other local high schools such as David Douglas and Reynolds have about four or five.
Budget cuts have also led to arts being removed from the middle school, and Grubar says this has caused a “decline in quality” as students who take his art classes now are unfamiliar with the subject and use the class to expect an easy grade. This also has a lot to do with the district’s emphasis on repeated testing on core subjects (math, writing, science), which is a far cry from the interest of any student with a creative mindset.