Locust Valley High School students in the IB Art program have been spending the new year hosting art talks for fellow students, discussing the creative process and inspirations which informed the original art pieces they’ve made in the district’s IB Art program. The goal of the art talks is to inspire underclassmen to explore artistic expression and engage the next generation of aspiring artists in all mediums.
Students are encouraged to explore different art forms and challenge themselves and their perceptions of what art can and should be. The two-year course requires the production of a number of sketches as well as studio assignments, which will then be brought together for an end-of-course exhibition.
Melanie Mooney, art teacher at Locust Valley High School and head of the IB Art program, said that while she works with the students to help them realize their artistic visions and gives them pop up challenges and regular assignments, her job is to guide the students rather than merely talk at them.
“They have many assignments, but a lot of their work is student-driven and independent thinking,” Mooney said. “It’s up to them and what they want to do should be stemming from their research and guiding them in their processes to create their future pieces of artwork.”
Every Wednesday students in the program give brief presentations and answer questions from other Locust Valley students, discussing the materials they used and the cultural and artistic influences behind their work.
Students in the IB Art program work in a wide range of mediums, from painting and sculpture to textiles. Juliana Nabet and Sammar Khwaja, two of the seniors in the class, mentioned how Mooney and the course had encouraged them to expand their artistic horizons beyond their comfort zones.
“When I first joined IB Art I was still discovering my style and what I wanted to be inspired by,” Nabet said. “I feel like in the past two years it’s helped me come into myself and understand who I am as a person.”
“I grew up teaching myself art as less of an emotional thing and more of a method,” Khwaja said. “The art program showed me that art can be more than just depicting the human me to become a more conceptual artist.”
Another important aspect of the program is exposing the students to art from different cultures around the world. Anika Datta, the senior who presented her work on Wednesday, talked about how her art was largely informed by her background as a Hindu and Buddhist, incorporating themes from both religions.
“I really enjoy IB Art because you really get to do anything you like,” Datta said. “Hinduism plays a really big part in my life, I grew up going to temple, and I fell in love with the art associated with it.”