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Arting around

Maggie Coors ‘25

Apr 21, 2023

Advanced Studies: Studio Art, taught by Sydney Caretti, is offered to students in grade 11. The studio course allows creative and motivated students to develop their artistic techniques in a variety of media. The class highly values the creative process, as well as the final works that the students create. 

Throughout the year, students record their process in a sketchbook and receive one-on-one feedback from their instructor, as well as group feedback from the other students in the class. Students challenge themselves by learning and exploring new art styles and media. Ivy Chan says, “Since my primary art form is photography, I struggled to draw and paint in class. That was a significant challenge at first, but Mrs. Caretti gave me the appropriate guidance. I also spent a lot of my free time investigating how to draw or paint, and I became better as I practiced more.” 

The class is a mix of instruction and individual student research. Caretti says, “It's a complete joy to witness the growth and confidence that these fine artists are able to achieve in such a short time all because of their artistic dedication, the incredible resources and facilities available to them, and the opportunities we make to gather as a group.” 

 Students study art and artists throughout history and across different cultures, then create a piece of art that connects their research to their artwork. This gives students the incredible opportunity to develop and convey their individual artistic voices within a cultural context. Students practice constructive critiquing, learning the language and the analytical approach which they can use to evaluate their own work across the year. “These Excellent Eight are curious creatives who support and challenge one another in personal, visual expression.  How lucky am I?!?!” Caretti asks. 

Along with learning and creating, studio art students have a lot of fun. “By request of the Excellent Eight, in the Fall and Winter Terms we had optional late-night evening meetings where the music is pumping and the creative energy is flowing getting the college vibe on!” Caretti says. 

And the learning is not confined to the classroom. “My favorite part so far has been the trip to New York. We were able to explore galleries in New York, view an artist's apartment, and even attend a figure drawing class; all of which I would not have had access to had I not joined the class. Also, since it's such a small class, we've each been given more direct attention from Mrs. Caretti, who always gives incredible feedback,” says Erica Sowah. 

Unlike many art options available at Mercersburg Academy, AS Studio Art is for those artists who intend to continue their work beyond high school. “Overall, I love the class because it is a year-long art class, meaning we have a full school year to learn more about ourselves and our individual art styles, which is something that we can take with us after the school year has ended,” says Sowah. 

The class was open to 8 students this year but is expanding to 10 students next year. Before taking this class, students must have completed the second level of a visual art class and must receive department approval. Current lower-middlers and juniors should definitely consider taking the class when they can. “I was really into arts and design and had taken a lot of visual classes at that time, so I decided, why not join!” says Ivy Chan.

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