Visual Art Classes Through Virtual Learning

Millie Murphy, Staff Writer

Until further notice, all WSFCS classes will be online due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Due to this change to virtual school, many accommodations have had to be made to adapt to the new system. While many academic classes like math and science have easily adjusted to online school, visual art classes have had to become more creative during this time of uncertainty.

R.J. Reynolds became an arts magnet school in 2007 and since then has offered over thirty art based classes. In the previous years, many of these classes were easily taught with resources available in classrooms. However, it has been difficult for teachers to accommodate for the limited materials that students have available at home.

The visual art classes offered at Reynolds vary from Digital Photography, Oil Painting and many others. One class in particular that has been forced to become innovative due to online school, is Ceramics. While easily taught in the classroom using resources provided by the school, many students do not have the materials necessary for a normal class.

Emily Beach, the Ceramics teacher, 3D Design and Art 1 at R.J. Reynolds, has first hand experienced the troubles of teaching an art class through virtual school.

“My classes are definitely different now that they are virtual, but the fundamental concepts  are basically the same,” Beach said. “We had a supply request opportunity for students and my student had the option to pick up supplies if they did not have access to them.”

Beach has taught students for seventeen years and has even taught for NC Virtual Public School which gave her an advantage starting online classes this fall.

“It has not been difficult, but much more time consuming,” Beach said. “Currently my Ceramics students are working with sculpture materials but will transition into clay with supply pickup at the school or they may choose to continue working in sculpture materials until we go back.”

Ceramics students have been given the availability of building materials and are creating their projects solely from home. Beach has spent a lot of time on her classes to ensure that her students are able to experience a normal visual art class even with the challenges faced during this school year.

“I definitely prefer in school classes because it is easier to talk to my teacher about my artwork and get his feedback,” Reynolds senior Rand Parish said. “It is also a much better atmosphere in person being able to work alongside your classmates and see what ideas they’re exploring.”

Parish is part of the Reynolds AP Drawing class and is working toward finishing his portfolio this year like many of his other classmates. 

“Being virtual has not changed how AP art classes are done in any major way,” Parish said. “We are still working toward our AP portfolios even though virtual learning definitely makes it more difficult.”

Despite the challenges of mixing art classes with online meetings, many of the art students have been able to continue their works and improve their skills. Reynolds art teachers have been working very hard to provide necessary materials and useful classes so that students can continue exploring their interests in the arts.