CVU Provides a New Course for Aspiring Artists

Ms. Haley Vespa

The Chittenden South Supervisory Board once again gives their support to students’ creative and flexible pathways for learning by signing off on a new course, allowing the freedom for students to excel in their individual artistic passions.

Beginning in 2019, the CVU Art Department has been given the go-ahead to provide a new course for all types of art media, according to Jen Bickel-Hayes, a CVU Nichols House Guidance Counselor.

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Studio Block is offered during second block on red days and is taught by Jason Fearon, an art teacher of four years at CVU. Three of the four art rooms are available for use during that time. “I think we were really lucky, it just happens that the photography room and the ceramics room are open at the same time. Having all three of the spaces is really fantastic!” said Fearon. He explained that the class is designed to give students the freedom to work on independent projects based on their personal artistic goals, not goals set by the instructor.

Students should understand that this is not only open to those enrolled, but for any CVU artists in need of a space to work. “I also like that students are coming into the class who aren’t assigned to the class, but are using it as a time to be in a room where they can ask a teacher questions and that teacher isn’t going anywhere, that I’m dedicated to helping them. I hope that also grows!” Fearon assured. He sees the value in providing space for student learning without whole class instruction involved.

Aside from taking Intro to Art, a required class to take other art classes, prior knowledge to any artistic mediums is not needed to take Studio Block. It is an open class for students who want to learn something new or for students who want to take what they already know and push it further.

“Students taking the class have to have at least taken Intro [to Art] to take it, so my hope is that students taking the class understand art conceptually (keys points from intro), but I don’t think you have to have prior knowledge of the particular mediums that you’re going to view. I think it’s nice that some people are trying new mediums they wouldn’t get to otherwise. I also think it’s great that some of the students have extensive knowledge on a medium and are using this opportunity to push it further!” said Fearon. Studio Block is all about the freedom to explore and push oneself.

 Meredith Gove, a senior at CVU, shared her thoughts on the new class. “Something that is hard about Studio Block is that every student is working with different mediums and various projects. For example, some are creating a series of paintings, while the majority are working to expand their photography techniques and other students are working with multiple mediums at once, but Studio Block has given me the opportunity to explore more ceramic techniques as I was unable to fit Advanced Ceramics into my schedule this year.”

Gove is currently working on a ceramics project that revolves around the use of textures through 3-dimensional floral patterns. She provides first-hand feedback on the benefits of Studio Block’s “flexible pathways.” “I love the structure of Studio Block! In the long run, the idea of success is dependent on what each individual student puts into their project. Without an internal drive, the class wouldn’t work. Flexible classes empower students to reach for the stars in topics they are interested in and Studio Block allows that through discovery, creativity, and reflection.” Gove encourages students to excel in their passions, challenge themselves in new ways, and have the time and structure to support their goals and successes.