SAN MARCOS — The students of San Marcos High School saved their best for last as they showed off the fruits of a year’s labor at the annual Arts on the Green lunchtime event May 28. Everything from visual arts and sculpture to dance and music were on display at the center of campus.
All of the students in every San Marcos High School arts class contributed pieces for the show. Even after a screening process, the quad was still flooded with work. Long, portable walls were crammed with visual art of all types. Jackson Pollock-style expressionism hung near ink tributes to superheros.
There was plenty of live art, too. The San Marcos Percussion Ensemble played snappy tunes on xylophones and Caribbean steel drums while two dozen ceramics students threw pots with practiced ease.
“I’m jealous,” freshman Guiu Lee said as she watched senior Janet Oregon mold clay on a spinning wheel. “Look at the amazing pottery they get to do and the sculptures!”
“I love it, it’s fun,” confessed Danny Harper, a senior, as he molded his piece. “It’s just a hobby for now, but if I get really into it, maybe if there’s some kind of career, I’d do it.”
Even if the students don’t pursue careers in pottery, taking the classes makes them better prepared for college and the workplace, said Brady Stout, head of the ceramics department.
“It’s much more than … playing with mud as I like to say,” Stout said. “They’re gaining real world skills in terms of creative problem solving which they can take into any job or occupation.”
Stout’s students also learned about philanthropy. The previous Friday, they sold bowls they made filled with food donations from the community. The so called “Empty Bowl Project” made $1,400, which was given to the San Diego Food Bank.
Perhaps the biggest lesson the art students learn, according to Stout, is a world beyond instant gratification, what he called the “microwave generation.”
“This is something they have to work for,” Stout said. “Art doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience … and they have to learn to deal with failures.”
“I think (art) reinforces everything really nicely,” Principal Julie Mottershaw said. “Reading, writing, speaking skills … not to mention whatever it is, you’re looking at measurement, you’re applying math.”
In a time of budget crunches and program cuts, the school’s art program is secure, according to Zane Cory, drawing and painting teacher.
“Art is a requirement for Cal State universities and also for UCs, so that program’s not going to get cut because it’s a requirement to get into college,” Cory said. “I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”
Arts on the Green certainly isn’t going anywhere. The art displayed in the quad serves as an inspiration to those who haven’t been featured yet.
“Next year, I’ll have art up here,” vowed Gloria Moririselonte, a freshman, in front of the visual arts walls. “I know I will.”