The students in the Partnership Art class held an art showcase in the library on March 29, where they displayed all the artwork they have created this year.
When they arrived at the Partners Art Show, parents and students were greeted with a hand mural the kids had painted at the beginning of the year. Creating this group mural back in August allowed the students to talk and get to know each other a little bit before continuing the school year.
“I loved watching the students show their parents around to each of their pieces, telling stories about how it was made and talking about their partners and the friendships they’ve made,” said Partners Art teacher, Mikaela Jaros.
The Partners Art class was formed last year to connect the Art and Special Needs departments, providing more students an opportunity to participate in art. Since last year, the class has become more student-run as the kids step into leadership positions. Jaros starts each six weeks with a specific concept, like sculpture, sand art or watercolor. After discussing the important elements and principles of each concept, she hands it over to the mentors to come up with unique lessons and activities.
Each mentor reserves a class period that they will teach. Through this student leadership process, the mentors learn responsibility and organization skills along with what it’s like to be a teacher.
“The students in the class are always looking forward to who’s next, or who’s teaching that day and what they’re going to be doing. It’s been great taking a step back and watching them all grow,” Jaros said.
This class strives to combine the teaching of art and the building of friendships. Mentors and partners have been working together to create paper sculptures, pointillism dot paintings, Picasso portraits, mosaics and so much more. Partners Art provides all students with a fun atmosphere in which they can create their own unique artwork with friends by their side.
“This is the most rewarding class to teach,” said Jaros. “To see the love and kindness in their hearts form these bonds with students who don’t get to experience high school like most is the most beautiful thing. The best part about it all is that these are genuine friendships. They don’t talk down to each other, they don’t ‘baby’ each other, they don’t ‘feel bad’ for each other. They’re just a great group of friends, who come to my room to make art. It’s incredible.”