SIMSBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — From gym class to music class and everything in between, electives have had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this week’s What’s Right with Schools, we head to Simsbury to take a look at their art department and how they are adapting.
Shannon Gagne is the director of the Simsbury School District’s art program and tells News 8 their students need the classes their schools offer, “It’s an escape, it’s relaxing to them. It’s the thing they look forward to in the day.”
Art teachers across the district have had to transition and adjust their curriculums with remote learning and hybrid learning models.
Gagne says, “We’re trying our best to maintain the studio experience. Oftentimes in the art department, it does not look like everyone doing the same thing at the same time.”
They’ve adjusted by providing take-home materials and kits for their students.
“In the ceramics program, the teacher has prepared clay and individualized clay for the students,” Gagne tells News 8.
As most artists will say, there’s beauty in everything, even a pandemic.
“We’ve embraced more than ever, the progress that can be made in making mistakes.”
Of course, art shows and student portfolios have had to become digital.
They made the transition when spring shows had to be canceled at the end of last year because of the pandemic. They tell News 8, the online portal now allows distant family and friends to follow the students’ artwork and has ended up being a good thing to come out of the pandemic.
Gagne tells News 8, “To know that we’re providing an area of peace and hope for our students has motivated our teachers and I’m so impressed with their dedication and hard work it’s a true celebration.”