From Canvas to Code

A look into the variety of art & media classes

Veterans Memorial High School has many art programs with technical and physical aspects. One key difference between media art and traditional art is how they are created and presented. Traditional (physical) art is often made using physical materials and different mediums, such as paint, clay, or watercolor on canvas, whereas media art is created using digital tools and software. 

Art and Media is an evolving class that focuses on the digital aspect of creativity. Unlike the other art classes offered, there’s no need to charge an art fee. Art and media have been independent from traditional art classes for the last couple of years.

Students must take Art 1 before taking any other art class, such as painting, drawing, or sculpting. Although it started as a free course lab, students still pay a fee to use supplies. With art and media, though, students are not required to have any art experience to take the class or pay a fee.

A student works on a drawing assignment in Melissa Stewart’s Art 1 class. (Laura Meras)

“I have students in other art classes, but I might have some in Art and Media 1 who have never taken an art class before,” Caitlyn Gutierrez, an art and media teacher, stated. Gutierrez also explained that some students have been in advanced art classes like Painting 4, meaning they’ve taken three-plus years of art and are very advanced and skilled. “It keeps the class very fun because we have a lot of ranges in abilities,” she explained.

Every student uses their creativity differently in the class. 

Recently, Gutierrez has been trying to steer away from technology and dive further into an AP Art History course, which has been difficult because of the lack of an available computer lab.

“My definition of art and Media is exploring art from the prehistoric drawings and cave paintings we can see today. I want to explore how we use art as a form of communication. We tell stories, express ourselves, and document our cultures,” Gutierrez said. 

The end goal for art and media classes is to lead further into AP Art History, which the school doesn’t offer, but Gutierrez would like to. This class will teach the same practical and applicable art skills, but the main focus will be learning about different artists and their styles and how they created art throughout art history.

Art and Media is still a progression-based class, so students need to know the same content they learned in Art and Media 1 to progress.

Students work on various projects with different skill sets throughout the course, so they don’t necessarily all work on the same skills. 

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