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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Global Cities Visual Art: Beneficial or Detrimental

[/caption] Hedy Gutfreund Staff Writer “I need to go to the art room!” This eight-word phrase is consistently heard before school, during free periods, and after school in the freshman hallway. At what point does art become detrimental to the academic courses the freshmen have? When all free periods are spent finishing art projects that are graded as harshly as projects for any class, but take a lot longer to complete, freshmen begin to worry about how the required art component of Global Cities is affecting their other classes. Many students have three free periods in the entire eight-day cycle due to Global Cities Visual Arts. This class, which meets three times in an eight-day cycle, counts as a half a credit. With the health class taking up a block during two quarters during the year, even some in-season athletes are stuck with no full free periods. I took a poll of the freshmen via a slip in their mailboxes, and over 80% of those who responded said that they did not think that the visual arts component should be required of the freshmen. 61% of freshmen are taking an elective or second language at some point this year, which means that they will have three free periods in the entire cycle for at least one quarter if they participate in a sport. Without these coveted frees, students lose time to meet with their teachers to discuss assignments or simply get work done in advance. Freshman Leah Mellett is one of these 65 freshmen. She said “Art class adds extra homework to our normal homework load. It sacrifices our free time during, before, and after school.” As one person wrote on his poll when asked how long art homework takes him weekly said, “I should be spending one hour every day, but I have other, more important homework.” This student also said that he uses his sole free for art homework in order to maintain a “good grade” in the class. Another person wrote on her survey that “Art is so stressful! Art is supposed to relax you, but all it does is mega stress us out!” When asked how much time they spent on art homework daily or weekly, many students simply wrote, “Too much!” The average number of hours spent weekly in the art room by the freshmen who responded was approximately three hours and twenty minutes, with some shocking responses such as nine hours a week spent on art homework. Becca Andruzzi feels like her frees are being wasted, saying “I have three frees during my eight day cycle, which my teacher expects me to use on art. So basically, there is no reason to have those frees – I might as well have a class, because we’ll be doing art anyway.” Jacob Hirshman worries about whether or not we are all really on an equal playing field, and he disagrees with the art teachers who say that hard work leads to good art projects. He argues, “Some people are less artistically capable than others. Some people physically are incapable of doing good artwork.” To get a different perspective, I talked to my visual arts teacher, Ms. Ross. She told me how the goal of global cities art is to give all students in the school a foundation in visual arts. To those who think art is unimportant and should not be required, she wonders, “Why should art be the low person on the totem pole? What causes that to be the question? I am on a personal mission to make arts matter in society.” She then went on to describe that the fact that colleges do not require a basis in art makes it seem less important, and about this, she said, “It is a disconnect that needs to be changed.” On the history of the visual arts requirement, she informed me that there used to be a humanities course that involved visual arts, English, and history. Eventually, this trio broke up, and history and art combined to work on a goal to add a more global approach to the curriculum. She enjoys teaching visual arts because, “I think we really show kids our passion.” All in all, some believe that art just gives too much work, and some believe the class is simply unfair—and people will always complain. I believe that art is a fun class and teaches time management, but it is a tough lesson to learn by having no frees and lots of extra work. Art is a vital part of any high school career, but having to take a visual arts class that eats up one’s free time can put a negative connotation on art as a whole, which is truly unfortunate.]]>

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  • A

    achiemDec 13, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    I completely agree with Joe. Maybe art isn’t your forte, but it’s completely necessary. The GCVA argument has been made pretty much every year, but honestly, once things have just calmed down, you stop hearing about it–until someone complains about it again. There are flaws to the program. Absolutely. But it’s not terrible.

  • M

    mcheadleDec 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I LOVE HEDY!!!!! <3 nice article btw. <3

  • J

    jbucciero11Dec 12, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    All students should be required to take a visual arts course. Whether or not that course is Global Cities, I don’t know. But art is in fact important.

  • T

    tkovacsDec 11, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I completely agree. I remember as a freshman how stressful the class was and instead of making me appreciate art, it actually discouraged me from wanting to take any more art classes at Latin. Although the course is very helpful to teaching students how to manage their time, I think that some changes need to be made when you are spending so much of your time in the art room. It is definitely very stressful especially with the other required classes you have to take as a freshmen and after school activities, you end up just having no time.

  • C

    cvolgmanDec 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I like GCVA. Ms. Ross’ class ftw. I also agree with Jacob about the artistic talent thing, and Becca is right that some people spend way too much time working outside of class!

  • N

    ngoldberDec 9, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    I agree with many of the freshmen, and I have to finish a project for art in the next day while I should be studying for exams. I also missed one long block and got pushed extremely far behind. I think this should be pushed out into the school and boards more to show teachers that they may need to try to make a less rigorous art class, or to try to accommodate these struggles.
    Thanks for this Hedy

  • R

    rstoneDec 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I really think that this article sheds light on something all students have had opinions on but never really questioned…so kudos on that one Hedy:)
    As someone that spent more hours in the art room than the lunch room last year, I really think that some action must be taken on the system itself. No other classes’ solutions are to spend more time on that subject; with our schedules it truly difficult to manage. Even so, I agree with Ms. Ross’ statement; without Global Cities art, I never would have known my artistic capabilities and how much the diligence could pay off. I just think the deadlines should be brought into consideration…they are the real stressors.

  • V

    VictoriaDec 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm