After School Art Program for High School students
by Caitlin du Plooy
Marfa, Texas - The after school art program is a great opportunity for high school students who cannot afford art supplies to express themselves by making art in a safe, open place. This past show would be the fourth year of the program, but the program was first started in spring of 2012 through the Marfa Studio of the Arts elementary program. When it stopped due to a lack of funds, Ms. Redding then went to the Marfa Education Foundation and asked if they would be interested in funding her program for high school artists.
Ms. Elizabeth Redding the founder of the After School Art Program explains why she started the program: “I believed that teenagers need a comfortable and secure environment to talk about issues that are affecting their lives; and so I felt that if we could get this after school program going, there could also be discussions about ideas as well as social ideas; for example body image, dating or just relating to each other. After four meetings I find that the students also show those issues and concerns through their art and I also think while we were together in the workshop there was a lot of discussions that would not be possible in regular school.”
Discussions ranged from where the three seniors were going and what they are expecting, to how everybody is feeling like they are 90 years old because they just have so much work to do; or who was dating who. And then there were multiple explanations of what certain American phrases meant to the South African student who did not understand any of them. The students were also encouraged to choose their own mediums, decide what theme the show should portray and design and create art they feel passionately about. Each artist showed great dedication to their artwork. On more than one occasion the students would stay at the school well past sunset working on their various art works; senior Eva Guevara stayed till one in the morning working on her impressive oil painting.
The last show, which featured nine high school students from Marfa, turned out to be a brilliant show, with watercolor paintings, ceramics, wood burning, art wear dresses and so much more. It drew quite a crowd and everybody that went seemed to enjoy it. The artists received great feedback from various big names in town. “ It was a spectacular experience, one of the best shows in Marfa and I would encourage all high school students to join in next year's art show. It is definitely something you will enjoy and never forget.” senior Gabriela Garcia says. The show was a success with multiple people selling their work and just having a blast at the opening, being happy with getting their name in the art industry.
Ms. Redding went on to explain how very excited she is for future shows because of how “unbelievable” the past shows were. She encourages all high school students to come join in and create magnificent pieces of art, with good people.