Infographic by Emme Perencevich

Emme Perencevich

Art Club: Creativity and Catching Up

December 2, 2018

There’s a buzz in the crowded art room as people rush around gathering materials before pulling up stools and settling down at work tables. Daniel Peterson and Michael Close, art teachers at City High, run around helping with their various projects.

“[Art Club] is pretty unstructured most of the time. So, in class, we have daily objectives or lessons going on with specific material or processes,” said Peterson. “It’s really just a space for kids to work on whatever they want.”

The lack of organization in the club may seem chaotic, but it does nothing to inhibit the calm environment. Art Club’s free spirit allows students to work on whatever they want.

“We don’t really work on coherent projects anymore,” said Close. “Over the past few years we’ve opened [Art Club] up to more of an ‘open art studio’ time where people can catch up on work they’ve missed, or if you’re not in an art class you can come in and learn to do whatever you want to do!”

Daphne Knoop ‘20 hasn’t missed a single day of Art Club since she started attending her freshman year.

“I personally love the way the club is structured because I never have any trouble coming up with things to do, and even if I did I think Dan or Michael would be able to suggest something,” said Knoop. “There really [aren’t] any planned activities. It’s really nice for students who have an art class, but don’t have a lot of open periods or free time during the day to come in and finish their projects.”

The club allows students taking an art class to catch up on work or get help from Close or Peterson.

“I’m in AP Studio Art, [so] I’ve got a lot of work to do and that may seep into Art Club,” said Knoop. “I like Art Club because you can do whatever you want; it’s a nice way to de-stress at the end of the day. Depending on the mood you’re in, you can do whatever type of art you’d like.”

However, you don’t have to take an art class to benefit from attending the club.

“With the club, somebody could come in who have never taken a ceramics class or a glass class before and say, ‘I want to learn how to make a stained-glass window,’ and we would, as long as they’re showing up every week, sit with them, give them that instruction, and help them with how to do that,” said Close. “It’s more personalized, like a one-on-one situation rather than a class.”

While Art Club doesn’t usually focus on overarching projects, they do divert more attention to events like Film Fest or commissioned projects like the mural on the side of the American Legion building.

“A small group of us have been working on a mural at the American Legion on Muscatine Avenue. That was our first and only public work of art since I’ve been here. Finishing the mural was a huge goal and I’m pretty proud we knocked it out so fast with pretty decent results,” said Peterson. “Eventually, towards the end of the year, we really get into preparing for Film Fest, which is our one big fundraising event.”

Art Club is preparing for City High’s annual Film Fest in May, which takes submissions of short films made by students and held in Opstad Auditorium.

“I won’t be submitting anything to film fest, but as a member of Art Club I’ll be helping to plan and set up,” said Maria Buri ‘20. “Making posters, picking a theme, and spreading the word are all important parts of getting ready for Film Fest.”

Another project the Art Club is working towards this trimester is installing an outdoor firing kiln.

“Our next goal is to set up an outdoor [raccoon kiln] for ceramics, which is a pretty big undertaking and it’ll be pretty challenging in the cold weather,” said Peterson. “But if we can get it set up it’ll be super, super special.”

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