How the pandemic has affect the VAPA department

Over online learning, students in metal smiting and ceramics were unable to have hands on experience with materials, but drawing and painting was still able to create various pieces of art.

COVID-19 has become a tired topic throughout the past couple years, but the effects of it have not lessened. It has affected students and teachers, school systems, and even classes, specifically the classes that teach the visual arts.
“I noticed a loss of a sense of community online, not being able to hand-ons instruct these kids; me relying on them volunteering to go into a breakout room so I could one on one tutor them,” said Amanda Dickson, drawing and painting teacher.
Because of online learning, many students did not get hands-on experience with the materials that the class works with, such as metals and clay. This heavily influences their performance in class now, especially those students who took the beginning class online and are now being introduced to more difficult methods of art. They must relearn basic skills along with the curriculum of the advanced class, creating a stressful environment for the students and teacher.
“Some of my students never touched the material that they work with and I think that affected all of us…so not working with the material and then going right to advanced two, there’s a huge gap in skill development, design development, and concept development that I’ve witnessed,” said Alexis Archibald, metalsmithing teacher.
The range of skill this year varies from students who haven’t had any experience, to students who got little experience, to students who were able to do a full, or close to, a full year of working in the class. Students must attempt the more difficult techniques without past experience and teachers have to teach basic skills along with their planned curriculum for the more advanced classes.
“I think the main thing is that that account didn’t get built up last year and then we got our VAPA budget cut by thirty percent going into this year. I feel like I’m ordering things far enough in advance but shipping is taking longer, everything getting processed through the district is taking longer because of outages because of people being gone. So I feel like this whole year I’ve been struggling to make sure I have all of the materials that I have,” said Cari Nelson, ceramics teacher.
The visual arts are one of the many classes that many students take for graduation credit and as a way for students to express themselves. However, as the year goes on visual art teachers are losing their funds. Materials vital to each class are running out, and this may be a larger problem later in the year if it is not solved, especially for final projects due to dwindling supplies.
Teachers have been limiting some materials being used or purchasing materials themselves, however, teachers may need to turn to fundraising for the VAPA department, or encouraging people to donate to the classes in order to help. There are many significant ways that COVID-19has affected the visual arts of the VAPA department, from skills to funds, and solutions to the problems should be found in order to create a better environment for the teachers and students.