God gave us the desire to create and He was our first Creator!
Art in our elementary classes is incorporated in weekly activities by classroom teachers. Beginning in fifth grade, our middle school art teacher, Lauri McNeill, meets with classes twice a week. She also teaches Architecture, an elective class which our middle school students may choose. The following is Mrs. McNeill’s narrative on our art and architecture programs:
Our art program at Baymonte is a process of making and interpreting visual reminders of God’s creation. Through observational drawing students develop their intuition, sensitivity to and appreciation of the Creator’s beauty around us.
Making art helps students learn more about themselves and how they connect to those around them. The art classroom offers a safe environment where they can learn to trust their ideas and to explore what is possible.
We encourage students to find their individual voice and to grow as thinkers by way of weekly sketchbook prompts where they combine drawing with brainstorming and design.
In the middle school program we build skills in drawing, color, composition, elements of art and design, technique, art appreciation, art history and problem solving. Students acquire knowledge and craftsmanship through a variety of art mediums. We offer an after-school art club for those passionate artists who want to expand their skills and try new techniques with like-minded artists in a community setting.
Art is not an island. We make daily connections to core content, using math, history, science and literature as part of our program.
As a practicing architect and artist with a love for teaching, I continually seek to build relationships with students guiding them as young artists to find joyful meaning and confidence in their work.
Architecture at Baymonte is an active part of our ongoing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education. Decision-making and problem-solving skills are learned in design and both are very relevant to every day life.
One of the biggest challenges in Architecture is teaching students how to sift through information, how to decide what information to use, and how to make compromises. With design, solutions are neither 100-percent right nor 100-percent wrong – unlike solving a mathematical problem. First solutions are not always the best ones allowing further creative options or refinement of ideas.
An architect must be a good communicator as well as a good listener. We help students gain both of these skills in our program.
In architecture elective students learn how to draw and build as a form of communication and expression. Even though most students are proficient in computer technology they tend to lack simple mechanical skills. It is therefore very important to teach hand drawing skills to solve technological problems. They learn the basics of “space” and three-dimensional form through spatial and drawing observation exercises, brainstorming with cardboard, clay, Legos and pencil, along with simple computer design tools.
Through architecture and design patience is learned. Students get restless and often ask, “When can we start building?” They learn that there are stages of planning and each step is important from the beginning to the final product. They learn design is a “process” and team building is critical to good design.
As a practicing architect and artist I devote a lot of time thinking about complex ideas. It is important that I teach with imagination while simplifying concepts so that young students can understand them. As students learn, they develop creative solutions that are amazing!