Ask visitors to ACDS about their first impression and they will respond "the art!". Wherever one walks in the school, beautiful and original art is displayed. Our art teacher, Ms. Suzy Tacktill, is driven to help students be creative as they also also learn to appreciate art. The series of art and technology field trips this year is one example of how Ms. Tacktill challenges her students to make connections, see patterns and use their artistic abilities.
The following is an overview of the art program provided by Ms. Tacktill. To see a few examples of student art, visit our online art gallery.
After many years of having the honor of inspiring and nurturing creativity in young artists, I have given great thought to the derivation of the inspiration which sets the stage for creativity. I have come to the conclusion that creativity does not end as the musician lays down his/her violin, nor does it end as the applause fades after the curtain goes down following act III. It does not begin in chapter one and end at the epilogue, nor after the artist signs her/his canvas. Creativity is, as I see it, a way of life.
It has been my goal as an arts educator to inspire my students to be creative thinkers and thereby creative problem solvers; to be sure that they recognize that their most important tool for success in the arts is not the one that they hold in their hand but the one that sits upon their shoulders, and that the ability to be a creative thinker will be with them in an art studio or in a board room or when they might be in the midst of one of life’s crises. It is this innovative creative thinking which will serve the students well throughout their lives.
I have been involved with the arts and education for my entire life - as an artist, as a student, and as an educator - and have taken the time to ponder and establish an understanding of methodologies and approaches which seem to work well. Communication is the key to the well-being of any relationship. The interaction of a student body, faculty, parent body, the community, and administration is a very intricate relationship which can be enhanced by the arts. Our students bring rich cultural backgrounds with them offer and these offer an avenue for educational enrichment. I see the arts as an intertwining thread through the curriculum and for the nurturing of self-esteem. It seems to me that for students to effectively experience the arts, they must be made relevant to them and that an important educational tool in the classroom is an understanding of the student body, along with its learning styles, and a willingness to adapt one’s approach to reach that student body. I feel that a willingness to explore the individual talents of our students creatively, with strength but not rigidity, is a tremendous asset.
It is the task of an educator in an arts environment to facilitate the use of the arts to make our children shine and to unite the community in celebrating the uniqueness in each of our children through listening, processing, and guiding in a sensitive and creative manner. Above all, it is important to create an environment which provides both physical and emotional safety and a haven where the students feel a strong sense of intellectual and creative safety.