BERKELEY – In a very competitive economy, school districts want to give their kids every chance they can to succeed.
Often, this is represented in college-level academic classes, or science curricula to keep up with quickly evolving technology.
You don’t usually see it in art.
Central Regional High School will be starting an art academy beginning the 2020-2021 school year. This will be a four-year program that will give students a head start and a strong foundation for studying the arts after graduation.
Traditional art classes teach a handful of disciplines throughout a school year. A student might have drawing, papier mache, and sculpture in different sections of the year, said Lynn Fisher, an art teacher at Central. The art academy will spend four years showing students a broader range of skills, and allow them to take a deeper dive into each one.
Students will still take normal curriculum, like four years of English and physical education. But there will also be classes like Drawing and Painting 2, Studio Arts AP, and Art History/Women in the Arts.
Another boost is that the AP classes earn credits at Ocean County College.
Art schools are really competitive, Fisher said, describing one school that only takes a handful of new students per year.
“Whether it’s product design, advertising, game design or even interior design, you need the fundamentals,” she said. “You need to be able to express your ideas.”
In order to be considered for the program, you must:
- Be an incoming freshman with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher
- Have 3-5 examples of original work in your portfolio. These works can be in any medium. They will be presented to an interview panel of Art Academy teachers. You must be able to discuss your work and interest in the arts
- Grades in all classes must remain in good standing throughout the four years
The Art Academy joins the Digital Media Academy and Humanities Academy.
“The kids always give 100 percent, so we want to see them go far,” said art teacher Jen Cerami.
With the art academy, students will be able to get a good groundwork in a number of techniques, she said. Otherwise, they might only try a particular skill for the first time when they’re already in art school. “If the first time they see it is in college, they could get discouraged.”
While the seniors and juniors currently enrolled are sad they didn’t get to be a part of it, there’s already some excitement with the incoming classes. “It’s super beneficial for any student who wants to make art their career or even their passion,” she said.