In the fast-paced, technology-focused world around us, creativity and innovation have never been more important.
But where does creativity and innovation come from? It comes from having an open mind, thinking “outside the box,” and creating a space where expression can happen. At The Franciscan School, this space is created through our Art department. Art is valued and prioritized, giving students a creative outlet in a collaborative environment.
“Being open and flexible to new things is an important skill and something students will take with them everywhere they go,” says Kindergarten-2nd grade Art teacher Jillian Leonard. “It is the most important skill I teach.” Leonard likes to pair new techniques with artists who successfully put that skill into practice. It further helps them understand that skill, while also seeing how they as artists have their own unique styles. Connecting what they are learning with what they are creating is a great personal exploration. She says that learning the skills and techniques, while coupled with gaining courage, is a personal reward for students. “And getting a front row seat to their discovery is mine,” Leonard shares excitedly.
In 3rd through 8th grade, students are encouraged to be creative with each lesson as they grow and stretch. Art teacher Rachel Cappo, in her 4th year at The Franciscan School, works to challenge each student where they are. “I try to give confidence to the students who feel like they can’t complete a task, as well as provide positive constructive feedback to those who feel they can easily achieve it so they can progress further.” Cappo also strives to set students up for success in high school and beyond. She stresses that to do this, students need to have the ability to innovate, and innovation stems from creativity. “Art can help you expand your creativity by utilizing areas of your brain that are not always stimulated in other subjects at school.”
Art is showcased each year at the Art Expo. Typically more than 600 pieces of art are on display for parents and the church community. Many volunteers help put the event together, and an orchestra, food, and drinks help create a gala-type experience. But most importantly, this beautiful event helps students gain confidence and courage as they display their artwork for all their family and friends to see.
At The Franciscan School, Art is valued and creativity is encouraged all throughout the school. Art teachers Leonard and Cappo are both thankful for the well-rounded education provided and the role Art plays in that. We hope to see you in May at the next Art Expo!