Is the “Art” We Get Taught in High School Really Art?

I remember in sixth grade the excitement I felt about taking art.  I remember in the beginning of the year we got sketch books that we did almost all of our projects in and all sorts of warm-ups and activities. At first I thought it was great because I loved to draw and paint and I was excited to express myself.

I soon discovered that we were being told exactly what to draw every single day. And I remember that the very first thing we were forced to draw in that sketchbook was a portrait of the person directly in front of us. So basically you drew someone’s face and they drew yours.

I hated it.

I hated doing it and hated even more the fact that someone else was drawing me. From then on the year just got worse and we were forced to draw animals, and trees, and a rose, and all sorts of completely non creative things.

There was absolutely no imagination involved whatsoever throughout the entire year and it was awful. We were literally given sheets of paper that told us a step-by-step process of how to draw a certain thing.

I have heard  multiple students at George Ranch High School that are a part of the art program share their opinions about rodeo art. Most of them are far on the negative end of the spectrum. Although I haven’t taken art at high school their comments bring me back to that sixth grade class.

I don’t know if that’s the case all year here at The Ranch, but I know rodeo art does bug several students in the same way. My best friend Julia Nguyen went through it for 2 years.

“It’s just that I find it to be a huge waste of time.” Julia said, “Art class is supposed to be about expression. If a student wants to do rodeo art, good for them, they can enter. But its almost like the teachers want us to enter just so they can get recognition if we win, not for our own benefit. And last year was definitely a huge waste of my time and effort. To spend countless hours on something I never wanted to do in the first place for it to be disqualified was like a cheese grater on my exposed soul. By then, I knew getting into Art II was a mistake.”

Julia was disqualified along with majority of the rest of the art students last year because everyone took their art home to work on (like the fabulous students they are) only to find out a few days before the deadline that they were not allowed to take work on the project outside of school. All work on rodeo art must be done during school. But they didn’t know that. So the 3 students that did not take their art home were the only ones who got to enter.

I’m not saying there is a problem with our school’s art program. I’m just saying, you decide for yourself.

Maybe a change needs to be made so that students can develop their full artistic potential.