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Herkimer students illustrate what art is to them

Mike Jaquays
Staff writer
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Posted 10/3/22

“What is art?” That was the question Herkimer Junior/Senior High School art teacher Heather McCutcheon recently posed to her students in their first few days of school.

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Herkimer students illustrate what art is to them

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HERKIMER — “What is art?” That was the question Herkimer Junior/Senior High School art teacher Heather McCutcheon recently posed to her students in their first few days of school. They expressed their answers through artwork.

“I wanted to start the school year with a new project that was interesting and less intimidating to the students,” said McCutcheon, who also serves as the district’s Arts in Education coordinator.

There were some 70 students from grades 8-12 in her Social-Emotional Artistic Learning, Digital Art, Studio Art, Art 8 and Mixed Media classes answering the question. They each started with a design and then created a 6-inch by 6-inch art piece. They used markers, colored pencils, paint and the iPad to create their projects.

Their artistic answers said, “art is something that stirs emotion in you” and “art is everything with a meaning or emotion.” It is also “Imagination,” “music” and “creativity” to the students, the project revealed.

Art means many different things to the students and expressing those emotions was big part of the fun in this assignment. “I liked how you could do anything you wanted in this project,” said 11th grader Layla Parham, who worked three days on her own sculpture of two butterflies with an eye between them. “If you like it, and you work hard on it, then it is yours.”

“Art is a way to express yourself and share your interests with others,” 10th grader Avery Richard, who created a colorful artist’s palette, added. “I tried to show this in my piece.”

The finished art was displayed on the wall in the upstairs lobby of the school and will remain there for the next few weeks, McCutcheon said.

“I really liked seeing all of the variety in their renditions of what art means to them,” McCutcheon said. “Every student had a different definition of art.”

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