With nearly 450 high school students taking one or more of the 19 art courses offered, it’s really no wonder that BH-BL modified STEM (the more commonly known education acronym) to include Arts, thus becoming STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.
“Arts play an integral role in education as a whole,” says
Director of Fine Arts Peter Giroux. “And much like other
academic subjects, art easily interweaves with other fields of
study to enrich the cross-curricular collaboration
we encourage in our district.”
The high school’s new STEAM addition includes three high-tech
art classrooms with SmartHubs and advanced instructional
technology (see p. 1) that allows for improved art
demonstrations, instruction, design, and production.
For example, explains Giroux, the high-definition projectors and document cameras enable teachers to display, capture, and share with the entire class real-time images of students’ artwork. This is a useful tool that can help those who might need assistance with a technique during the creation process or are seeking constructive criticism from peers.
Students also have access to unique pressure-sensitive
computer monitors that allow them to manipulate and create
digital artwork using their fingertips or a stylus. An added
bonus is the monitors do not register the pressure generated
from a student’s palm or the side of his hand when it rests on
the screen. The monitors also sense that more
pressure generally means a line or drawn area should have a thicker or heavier stroke, depending on the artwork being created.
The new space also allows for a larger art gallery with display areas that better reflect a real-world art setting, thus giving students a glimpse of how their artwork would look at a professional gallery. Finally, the new space is more flexible and conducive for the school’s annual Arts Festival.
“We can host our Arts Festival musical performances in the
auditorium without disrupting the flow
of the art show next door where spectators are encouraged to ask the artists questions and artists can share the inspiration for their artwork,” adds Giroux.