Art teacher paints new guidelines due to COVID pandemic


Braxtyn Baugher, staff writer

Art teacher Emily Wallace started teaching here this fall. She is thinking creatively to make sure the art program can stay alive.

“My long term goals include making sure that students have opportunities to display their art around the schools and in the community,” Wallace said “I know that the art club is already working to make connections in the community and do some projects outside of school. I also hope to include some little bits of art appreciation in all of my classes!”

Wallace’s final years of schooling were deeply impacted by the pandemic, but that didn’t stop her from achieving her goal of becoming a teacher.

“The pandemic definitely affected my final years of schooling,” Wallace said. “I still can’t believe it, but I actually spent my entire student teaching experience teaching art to kindergarten through fourth grade students over Google Meets and using resources in Google Classroom. That at was challenging just for the fact that it was hard to check in with the students’ projects and offer them hands-on help, let alone making sure that they all had supplies and access to our virtual meetings. It definitely forced me to think outside of the box though, which I am grateful for.”

The pandemic has made the lives of students difficult as there are times when they cannot attend school in person. For those in art classes, there are specific challenges as they can’t necessarily paint on a Chromebook.

“I know it’s frustrating for students who can’t be in person all the time because there are some supplies and projects that are hard to take home,” Wallace said.

The art program has many branches to it as there are many different professions that require different types of specialties. One might think it is challenging to manage all of the courses, but Wallace isn’t scared of the challenge.

“As far as my plans for the art program, I am very excited to be teaching the new ceramics classes at HHS,” Wallace said. “I want those students to be able to make as many quality projects as they can that they can actually take home and use. For all my classes, I hope to give students the art-making “tools” they need to create interesting pieces, and then help them to make artwork using different media and different approaches so that they can show them off, keep them, and then continue developing their art skills.”

Wallace hopes to teach her students to use their artistic talents to voice their opinions.

“Art is so important to me because of its expressive capabilities,” Wallace said. “I truly do believe that art holds a special place in school for how it allows students to develop creativity and confidence to create independent works that mean or convey something important to them. It can aid them in their development and understanding themselves and gives them a new way to interact with and understand the world around them.”

With the recent elimination of the art program at SIC, there are going to be many area students who are forced to either not go after their goals in the field of art or go to a college that has a program supporting those goals. Although Wallace didn’t attend college at SIC, there is no doubt that she doesn’t support such an act.

“In regards to the community college, it always saddens me to find out that an art program has been cut as it happens far too often,” Wallace said. “I know that it will be a loss for Harrisburg’s community culture.”