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Coping with COVID: The Art Dept.

Dealing with the new way of life can be especially hard for the teacher and student body of Winnacunnet, especially for our Art Department, who mostly rely on physical mediums in order to teach their classes.

“Teaching art feels lonely this year,” Art Teacher Laurel Larivee said. “Typically, the Art Department is a very social hub of creative people sharing ideas and inspiring each other.”

Larivee said she finds it difficult to work in an empty classroom without the normal amount of work going on and students creating projects. Some days are more difficult than others for her.

“Sometimes, I feel like things are on track and great work is being produced,” Larivee said. ”Other times, it feels like I'm just talking to a wall, and I can't tell how my students are feeling.”

Larivee said the biggest challenge for the art teachers this year was the plan for sending art kits to each student’s home. These kits consisted of everything students needed for in that class. For example, Beginning Art students got a watercolor palette and paper, with some brushes, and colored pencils.

“We wanted to make sure our students were prepped with all of the necessary supplies,” “Some of the supplies we use are expensive, and need to be treated with caution and care.” Larivee said.

The teaching method for now is pre-recorded lesson videos, made by the teachers, for students, so they can watch and rewind at any time. All of the teachers diligently answer any questions their students may have through email, providing answers for any students in need.

“In my painting class, I had my students complete our normal painting assignments. It took quite a bit of planning, but we made it work,” Larivee said.

This year, finals for art students looked a bit different. Instead of being assigned a painting or sculpture to do in the allotted time of class, it is expected that the project being worked on for the end of the trimester will be turned in for a final grade.

“This year, I have my Beginning Art students completing a radial symmetry design drawing, and my Oil Painting students are doing landscapes,” Larivee said. “Across the building, I would assume that some teachers will be giving project based finals, while others will give more traditional tests.”

Larivee said she often finds herself missing the normal hustle and bustle of a full art classroom. She said she thinks this year is a lot less colorful and bright than others, but she still feels as if she’s made connections with students.

“The only thing easier about this style of teaching is that my classroom stays a lot cleaner, but I would prefer a messy classroom over this any day,” Larivee said.

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