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Why Creative Enrichments are So Important

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I graduated from San Jose State University with a BFA in Animation and Illustration. For me, education was a calling. I knew I wanted to work in the industry, but when one of my professors opened the door to teaching, I fell in love with it.

How long have you been teaching at Alpha?

This is my 2nd year teaching at Alpha. I have 7 years of teaching experience as a whole. 

Can you tell us more about your class?

I wanted to create an art program that provides opportunities for students who are seriously considering a career in the arts. By giving them an advanced education while break it down so they are able to understand the curriculum, the program is designed for them to gain a competitive advantage when they go to college. In my fundamentals class, we focus on fine arts and art history in the first semester; second semester focuses on animation/illustration concept designs and film history. The students in my fundamentals class are also exposed to character, environmental, and prop designs as well as storyboarding. Moreover, the advanced class strictly focuses on rendering realistic compositions and creative writing. Within the radio, television, film, and illustration industry fields, the students work intensely on class packets to building up muscle memory and repetition, focusing on animal drawing, figure drawings, and environmental drawings.  

Why is creative enrichment so important?

Art is everywhere. Art is about storytelling. The best web designs and advertisements make use of artistic storytelling abilities to grab our attention. In a digital world inundated with content, the only way to stand out is to move people with storytelling abilities. Art builds creative thinking skills, forcing the artist to think outside of the box. When art is created with purpose, it shows a story; if art lacks story, it becomes a distraction. 

What are some ways in which you’ve seen your students grow?

From last year I noticed a significant shift in attitude towards art and this program. I love seeing their eyes open up. Students who first came in with a closed mindset would stop by during my office hours and want to go ahead and try because the program here provides them a creative challenge. For my students, as long as they make an effort, that’s what matters. Talent can help, but you need the education to build on that foundation. One of my hilariously favorite moments was when a student came up to me and said, “Ms. D, I used to think art is stupid, but you make me care about art.” My face was flushed with joy. Hearing those words is exactly what pushes me to show up for these students every single day. These students have to work 10 times harder because of their circumstances. This program — it is all about giving my students hope.