AGHS arts department impacted by COVID-19


Tatyana Salem, Co-Editor-in-Chief

For some, pursuing art is simply a hobby, others derive their passion and creativity from it, and for a select few, art is their life’s purpose. Mrs. Draine has been teaching the painting, drawing, and AP studio art classes at Arroyo Grande high school (AGHS) for over 10 years and has a master’s degree in fine arts. She has made it her life’s purpose to inspire others to feel the magic of art which she has so deeply felt for the majority of her life. Although distance learning has posed difficulties for teachers in the visual performing arts (VPA) program, they still work tirelessly to ensure that their students can participate in and enjoy the art class that they are enrolled in.

“At the beginning of the school year, Ms. Alex, myself, and Mr. Doty spent [all day of the first Friday of the school year]… [making] at least 300 art kits for the [students],” Draine said.

Art supplies to be put into over 300 art kits for students

As a VPA teacher, Draine wants her students to feel like creating art is possible from the safety of their homes.

“I wanted you guys to feel like you have the materials to make what you want and make it good.”

Draine and her colleagues don’t plan on stopping their hard work when the second semester rolls around.

“I’ll do the same thing second semester, as there will be some [students] that move into distance learning and stay there, and then [students] that come into the classroom… everyone is still going to get their own art kit with [their own] art supplies, and that’s really important.”

Even with all of their hard work, the teachers in the VPA programs at AGHS still struggle to feel like they can truly help their students.

“Because we’re not physically with you guys and I’m not walking around the classroom and seeing [students that are] 8 steps behind on their project… I can’t engage in a way to remedy it.”

The barriers that screens raise between students and teachers don’t seem to be helping the students’ motivation either.

“A lot of the times they [just] want to hide, they’re not interested in the distance learning piece, they just don’t like that style, they don’t feel like it counts… then they realize it does and go ‘oh no I’m missing so many assignments… well I just don’t care.’”

This lack of care not only affects the students struggling with distance learning, but it also impacts their teachers.

“I call them ghost students, they’re there but they’re not really there, and it breaks my heart truly,” said Draine.

Although the lack of motivation present in the students can be discouraging to these art teachers, they will not give up.

“[For the students] that I have found a way to connect with… it’s a lot of life coaching that ends up happening and it has to be tailored [to] the student because each student is experiencing something very different.”

Despite the trials and tribulations that COVID-19 has presented to art teachers, they still refuse to give in to the struggle, with concern for their students at the forefront of their minds.