Arts and Entertainment

Art classes offer more than just art

By Michael Fuchs
Published: October 2009

The ban on students’ lunching and snacking in the traditional but unhygienic stomping ground of South’s lobby has led them to journey to the 9000s’€the art rooms’€for the comfort and seclusion not offered in the cafeteria.

The art rooms are unique in that they remain unparalleled in their capacity to house several cliques as a single group.

As Glass and Mixed Media teacher Jeffrey Wixon explains, students enjoying the comfort of the art rooms are “one big happy family.

“There is some variety, but generally, all of the people who eat in the glass room like the same atmosphere and typically know one another, junior Brittany Bishop said.

It is this comfort and familiarity that makes art rooms so inviting.

While there are subtle distinctions between social groups that inhabit the art rooms, the cliques that constitute this body of students are extremely interconnected.

The atmosphere of each art room is strikingly different, and offers students a variety of social hangouts from which to choose.

The studio art room, which usually houses no more than ten students when classes are not in session, provides a more tranquil environment for students seeking to finish art projects while simultaneously chatting with friends.
In the furthermost part of the room are worn sofa chairs that echo the warmth and comfort of the beds students left at 6:30 that morning.

“The art room is an awesome place to do work, art-related or otherwise, or just to hang out. It’s always quiet, with plenty of room, and you can come in to do some extra work on a project pretty much any time during the day, junior David Melly said.

In contrast to the more intimate feeling offered in the studio art room, the neighboring mixed media and glass rooms furnish a more lively and bustling atmosphere for students seeking more social opportunities.
“Friends can go in and out without being yelled at by the teachers and the atmosphere in general is very relaxing. When I go to the glass room, I feel like I am able to do anything, whether that includes actual glass, homework, listening to music, or hanging out, Bishop said.

Social cliques who enjoyed the environment of the South lobby and halls prior to the institution of the new food policy, which prohibits students from eating on the floor, have largely found repose in these rooms.
“I think that if the hallways were still open to the students for eating, the [number of] people in the glass and mixed media rooms would decrease immensely, Bishop said. “When it comes to hanging out and eating, the glass and mixed media rooms are definitely the most popular.

Karen Sobin-Jonash, the Sculpture, Ceramic and Mixed Media teacher, offers an opinion for why the ceramics room is generally less crowded than the glass and mixed media room during lunch.

She explains, “Mr. Wixon’s room is probably more popular during lunch because it is cleaner, she said.
Students have found it somewhat uncomfortable to eat at tables covered in dust and ceramic clay.

Additionally, while a “decent number of people go to photo, Bishop said, the room is somewhat small and smells of chemicals used in photography.

“I think that if the hallways were still open to the students for eating, the [number of] people in the glass and mixed media rooms — Brittany Bishop ’11

That being said, all art rooms are great places for students who share similar interests to pursue a passion or simply hangout.

“I usually eat in the glass room, but even that can be a little full sometimes, and the [studio] art room has a much quieter atmosphere. Every once and a while I will go eat in there when I need to do work or something, Melly said.

Mr. Wixon attributes the popularity of his rooms to their proximity to the cafeteria, constantly streeming music, and, multitude of tables for students to enjoy eating their lunch at with their friends.

These provisions and the lively atmosphere have generated popularity that has come to greatly rival that of the cafeteria.

While Bishop and Melly are emblematic of Newton South art students, the glass and mixed media rooms also open their doors for students who may not be enrolled in an art class at South.

“The art rooms definitely do not appeal only to the art students. Now that the hallways are off limits, many people tend to go to the art rooms for lunch, Bishop said.

The increased popularity of the art rooms has led to a large amount of student traffic in them.
“Mr. Wixon always talks about the [number] of students in his rooms and how he can’t go out to lunch anymore because he has to watch over the rooms, Bishop said.

While there have been no serious issues to date, if students continue to leave their rubbish behind, Wixon will be forced to suspend the availability of his art rooms during lunch.

With that in mind, Bishop reflects on the possibility of eating in the cafeteria. “I, personally, would hate to have to go back to eating in the cafeteria, she said.

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