The small, rural high school I attended growing up provided more opportunities for self-expression than I think a high school kid could (or can) understand.
While growing up in a small town doesn’t provide a wealth of cultural or social experiences, the school district I attended really did its best to make sure that every student had a chance to receive a rich and diverse education. As such, my high school had two art teachers for a building that housed approximately 100 students per grade for grades 7-12.
Because of the small class sizes and two art teachers, I had an opportunity to work intimately with both art teachers while taking the maximum amount of classes offered to students to really find my niche in the art world. That niche was stippling.
If you’re not familiar, stippling is the art of using small dots to create shading and depth in images. As a somewhat neurotic person, I immediately fell in love with the monotony and therapeutic value of repeatedly tapping a pen until, little by little, something magnificent emerges.
Through the guidance of both of my art teachers in high school, I grew from using fine point Sharpies (which actually leave very large dots relative to what you create on an 8 x 10 piece of paper) to using pens that are .1 of a millimeter wide.
The best part of learning this artistic skill, however, is that I can improve upon it and continue to learn long after I graduated. Which is where I am today after finishing my most recent piece of work.
There’s a lot of value to art programs in school. And while everyone may not go on to have a vocation in the field, that doesn’t lessen the worth of what art in school can offer.
And this is speaking from experience.