A peek into the artistic minds of Newhall District students will be available from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, when thousands of pieces of student art will be on display for public viewing at Valencia Valley School, 23601 Carrizo Drive, Valencia.
The Newhall District’s Visual Arts Program reaches 2,000 fourth and fifth grade students in more than 75 classes at 10 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.
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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.
“By teaching students to focus on skill development in art lessons we are training them to acknowledge the potential for growth and change – that it is possible to develop artistic skills,” said Fossa. “Our students produce phenomenal art and when it is gathered and displayed in one setting you can’t help but be impressed with the scope and quality.”
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 30+ 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.”