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High school Art Day cultivates creativity

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Opening a portal

Opening a portal: Taking a class from Isaac Bird, a high school senior felt like she was opening a portal to another world.

Art Day is a day-long event, usually on a Friday, put on by the art department with workshops and a variety of media like drawing, painting, printmaking, screen printing, T-shirts and dying fabric. Meanwhile, those in art history do sample lectures. Also, a recent graduate from Washburn come and talk about their experience at the university, and what they have been doing since graduation. The preceding Wednesday, the same High schools submit their students’ work, their artworks come into the department and an exhibition is put up; the artists and their families are invited to see the artworks on that Wednesday, and at the end of Art Day the outstanding works receive different kinds of awards.

At the end of the day, throwing wheels were put in the hallways for a competition between the High School art teachers. The goal was whoever throws the tallest pot in a given amount of time wins. Everyone gets very excited and cheering to their home team, and at the end, the Golden Apron award is given to the winner.

Benjamin Wills, Professor of art, is a coordinator and supervisor of the event. Wills asks art students if they want to participate in the event, and then assigns each student to help with a different workshop.

“We have schools from all over eastern Kansas attend. Every department puts together some kind of small workshop, which the kids are able to do in 15 minutes. We divide the kids in groups so they have the opportunity to interact with kids from all over the state. We just knock out some advanced, kind of fun projects,” said Wills.

Gabbi Rollins, general studio art major, is a senior who assisted high school students with clay crafting on Art Day. Rollins has helped with Art Day the past two years and also participated when she was in high school.

“I had to make our own clay instead of using purchase clay because we wanted to have no money lost. Students have an opportunity to showcase their art and to see what art classes are like at a university. This kind of exhibition can build up their confidence, if they want to go into art,” said Rollins.

“My favorite part is seeing the art education people try to make lesson plans and create new activities for the kids,” said Rollins.

Kyra Miller, senior art major with drawing and painting emphases, assisted high school students with the T-shirt workshop. Miller attended Washburn’s Art Day all four years of high school and has volunteered all four years in college.

“On our table we have foam blocks, sharpies and knifes, the high schoolers carve out their drawing and cover it with ink, then they press it onto a T-shirt, creating their own T-shirt designs,” said Miller.

Jordan Quinones is a junior at Rossville High School who attended Art Day. Quinones is interested in attending Washburn once he graduates.

“My favorite part of Art Day is coming together and seeing what other schools are working on, and show off what I have been working on,” said Quinones.

Sunny Chen is a junior at Washburn Rural High School who attended Art Day as well. Although she doesn’t plan on attending Washburn, Chen feels Art Day gives her the opportunity to explore art more than she is able to in the high school classroom.

“I feel like this is important for high schoolers because they have the opportunity to see different works outside of their district. Usually you already know everything at your school, but here there is a lot different mediums,” said Chen.

Art Day is a mean of connecting with the community. High school students are able to talk to college students about their experiences, collaborate and learn with peers from other high schools on projects and be more exposed to art.

“I hope that the Washburn community knows that we are trying to encourage the kids in the community to be making art or be involved in any kind of creative effort. We are here to support not only the schools, but the entire Topeka Community,” said Wills.

Edited by Adam White, Abbie Barth, Wesley Tabor

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