March is nationally recognized as Youth Art Month. Each year the Arts Depot in Abingdon, VA features works from student artists from a Washington County, VA school. This year the featured school is Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA). The student’s artwork will be on display at the Arts Depot’s from March 1 through April 1, 2017. There will be a Meet-the Artists Reception on Saturday, March 4th from 2-4 pm.
Janet Haynes, CCA’s grammar school art teacher says “As a classical school, we teach the “grammar” of art in Junior Kindergarten (JK) through 6th grade. We learn the terms and language of art as we experiment with the elements of art – color, value, texture, shape, line, form…..All beauty comes from God. As His children, He has equipped us to be creative. Classes are designed to help the child express their creativity & gifts…at Cornerstone Christian Academy students are exposed to masterworks weekly in the classroom beginning in JK. This fosters interest, awe & appreciation of beauty. Exposure to various media encourages their own creativity.” Haynes says she most enjoys the energy and enthusiasm her students bring to every project as they learn to appreciate art. Janet Haynes has a degree in music from the University of Georgia and has been teaching at Cornerstone for five years.
Lea Utsman teaches art in the logic and rhetoric grades (middle and high school). She says “Students take that foundational knowledge (Elements of Art) that they learned in grammar school and use it to create project-themed pieces. Students learn and develop their understanding of the Principles of design by applying these principles to their own projects. They are also learning, sharpening, and honing old and new art skills to become more capable artists. When beginning projects, students are required to sketch and plan their pieces before they work on/with the actual material. After the sketching/planning stage, students begin working on their piece. These stages not only develop students’ skills in the area the project is focused, but they also develop their drawing skills and planning aptitude while teaching them the creative process.” In the logic and rhetoric classes students work with pencil, pen, marker, acrylic, watercolor, pastels, wire, papier mache, clay, canvas, paper, found and recycled objects, etc… Students are exposed to various media to discover if they have specific skills or love for the explored medium.
Utsman describes her teaching philosophy: “First and foremost, it begins with God, our Creator. Seeing as God was the first artist, students are taught to pursue excellence in all endeavors as working unto God. Secondly, my goal as an art teacher is to promote passion of the arts in my students and foster that love by exploring a variety of art avenues. Thirdly, I try to expose my students to a variety of artistic media to discover any potential talent.” Utsman strives to push her students “beyond their comfort zones and current skill sets” as a way to encourage their creativity. She also gives them some freedom within their projects to explore the field of art and exposes them to masterworks to inspire their own creativity. Utsman adds, “Students at CCA are AMAZING and really raising the bar when it comes to our visual arts department.”
Lea Utsman earned a Bachelor’s degree in Technical and Professional Communication from King College and a Master’s degree in Education from Milligan College and has taught at Cornerstone Christian Academy going on 5 years. She considers herself an artist preferring to paint with acrylics, but loves to explore various painting media to broaden her horizons dabbling in photography and other media.
The Depot Artist Association is a non-profit, mostly volunteer organization that operates the Arts Depot and is dedicated to promoting the arts in the community. The viewing hours for all exhibits are Wednesday thru Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm, and by appointment. All exhibits are free and open to the public. The Arts Depot is located in the historic Depot Square area of downtown Abingdon.
For further information about this exhibit or other offerings and activities of The Arts Depot, call 276-628-9091 or e-mail at email@example.com or visit our web site at www.abingdonartsdepot.org.