Visual Arts overcomes virtual roadblocks


Sophia Mattioli

Though converting to a digital learning plan can be hard for both teachers and students, most can still see the bright side.

This year Carlmont’s Visual Arts Department has met students’ and teachers’ expectations, with a few speed bumps along the way.

Carlmont has a vast amount of visual arts classes, including Illustration and Design, Studio Art, Ceramics, Digital Photo, and many more. 

Throughout in-person learning, art classes are famous for their extensive materials, projects, and welcoming classroom communities. Within normal circumstances, teachers have an immense opportunity to supervise and connect with students. This year, that lack of connection and control is the biggest adjustment.

“I’m not sure that giving up control isn’t actually better for me and better for the students because students have to control themselves…Eventually, people are going to stop telling you what to do, and you’re going to have to figure it out,” Julia Schulman said.

Schulman has taught at Carlmont since 2007. This year, she teaches both Art I and Illustration and Design I and II. Schulman finds that recreating a connection through Zoom can be complicated.

“Every year, I have four large tables with ten students per table. What always happens is that at every table, they become really good friends…I can see students creating really interesting and close bonds, and that’s the one thing I don’t feel is recreated to the same extent,” Schulman said.

According to sophomore and Art I student, Michael Dell’Aquila, some significant changes in his class were made in line with this year’s schedule

“Projects are simpler because Ms. Schulman wants to work on them in class, and there’s less in-class time to work with,” said Dell’Aquila. He mentioned their current Mandala Project, which has shrunk from a drawing with seven rings to just four.

Hailey North, a sophomore and Digital Photo student, agreed that some classes can’t translate everything virtually and have the same outcome.

“I really like how we have access to Photoshop and Lightroom, though they aren’t letting students check out cameras, so that’s pretty big,” North said, referring to the difference of distance and in-person learning.

According to North, both pros and cons have come with distance learning; Schulman has the same experience as a teacher. She likes to focus on the pros or the gain; students still get the creative aspect and outlet despite the loss of connection and collaboration.

“It’s not the same as entering a classroom. The smell of it, the look of it. But that’s okay, you’re going to lose stuff, and you have to be okay with that,” Schulman said.

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