Redwood’s evening art class, Artist’s Voice, is now up and running after last year’s struggle to meet enrollment requirements. Artist’s Voice was created in 1994 by art teachers Karen Meadows and Susanne Maxwell in order to give local guest artists the opportunity to work with high school students. Meadows no longer teaches at Redwood, but now teachers Maxwell, Liz Lauter and Lauren Bartone take turns teaching the class. Artist’s Voice is hosted in room 501 at night, as many guest artists do not have time to visit during the school day. The class proved popular for a number of years, up until the 2017-2018 school year when it did not meet the required enrollment number of approximately 25 students.
“I’m not sure if kids were busy or their schedules were busy, or if the seniors just graduated and the younger kids didn’t know about it. Maybe we didn’t advertise it enough,” Maxwell said.
Despite the year-long hiatus, the program is now filled with student artists every Wednesday night from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., creating artwork and expressing themselves without the restraints of a typical school schedule. According to junior Ellery Stocker, she was inspired to take the class because it allowed her to expand herself artistically outside of school hours.
“I think it’s really important to have a class like this at Redwood. Some academic courses limit creativity, but Artist’s Voice really does give you an artist’s voice and allows you to express yourself,” Stocker said.
Other artists in the class, such as sophomores Jordan Mann and Mia Allen, expressed their interest in not only art, but in expanding the art community at Redwood as well.
“I think that the art culture has a lot of potential, but it’s difficult in such an academic environment, where people really want to double up on science or math, but they don’t get the opportunity to take art. I think Artist’s Voice helps with that,” Mann said.
Allen said she decided to sign up for Artist’s Voice because even though the class requires three hours of time devoted outside of school, there is less pressure to get assignments done. She enjoys the laid-back atmosphere and that the length of the class allows her to do her work, as opposed to the short periods throughout the day.
Due to the commitment of spending three hours on a weeknight in class, Maxwell mentioned that students should join if they can handle the extra time consumption.
“I think you have to be a kid who is organized, because you are away from your studies for three hours on a Wednesday night. I think it’s a fabulous class, especially for the kid who can organize and balance their schedule,” Maxwell said.
Artist’s Voice not only allows students to create art and explore artistic styles, but also provides a platform for different grade levels to interact and share ideas.
“I have a lot of friends in here, and I like that it’s a mixed age group with sophomores [and] up. I’m enjoying meeting new people and being in a class that covers a wide variety of topics in art,” Mann said.
Maxwell elaborated on the class’s receptiveness, noting that all grade levels and different types of artists have to opportunity to enroll.
“There’s really a mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors, and then a new group will come through each year. This class is accessible for any kid in a current art class. It’s not just for painters, photographers or [people in] ceramics. It’s accessible for kids in all different arts to try it,” Maxwell said.