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Under the guidance of A.R.T.S., great progress seen in students this year

By Mrs. Lauren Garcia and Ms. Summer Wilkinson, 7th and 8th Grade Art Teachers

This school year, the art department has teamed up with A Reason to Survive, otherwise known as A.R.T.S., a nonprofit program dedicated to providing, supporting, and advocating for creative arts that heal, inspire, and empower youth facing adversity.

The A.R.T.S. teaching artists, Andrew Rae and Rob Tobin, are professional, accredited artists who teach at Nativity Prep twice a week to inspire our students to have positive visions, relationships and achievements through their artwork.

Abstract interpretive collage of the Mona Lisa, a product of Nativity's Class of 2014 under the guidance of A.R.T.S. faculty members Rob Tobin (left) and Andrew Rae.

Abstract interpretive collage of the Mona Lisa, a product of Nativity’s Class of 2014 under the guidance of A.R.T.S. faculty members

Rob Tobin has been working with the eighth-grade class in their final semester at Nativity. He has challenged them with many different mediums, from paint to clay. Eighth grader Moises M. shares, “Mr. Rob has given us many opportunities for us to better express ourselves creatively.”

Rob is assisting the class with a legacy project to symbolize their class at Nativity forever. Pedro Velasquez, a current eighth-grade student, comments, “Mr. Rob has taught us many different art skills. He has helped us brainstorm ideas for the symbolic representation for our 8th grade legacy project.” The students are very enthusiastic about coming together as a class to create something for Nativity. Rob will play a crucial role in the execution of the project.

Andrew Rae works with the sixth- and seventh-grade classes. From the moment Andrew stepped foot into Nativity, the students were drawn to his artistic knowledge.

“Mr. Andrew is so helpful, and he is a pretty funny guy. I enjoy having him in our art class,” commented Steven C., a Nativity Prep seventh-grader.

Andrew has taught them many art forms such as how to sketch, use pastels, paint and create clay models. A few examples of artwork the students have created are animal clay models and self-portrait paintings. Every class period, the students are working on a project and experimenting with different ways of creating. These art projects allow our students to discover who they are and who they want to become as individuals.

“ARTS is awesome because we get to paint and use different materials to do art,” says Steve C. “We think of Andrew as role model, and we love learning new things every class.”

Brigitte Jimenez, a Nativity seventh grader, agrees that the A.R.T.S faculty are very positive and supportive. “Mr. Andrew is cool because he is always encouraging us with our artwork. He knows that we can do it!”

He truly has transformed the sixth- and seventh-grade students into aspiring artists.

As their teachers, we have been amazed to see the development of our students’ artwork from the beginning of the school year to what it is now after Andrew’s influence in the classroom. Andrew not only has strengthened the students’ art abilities, but he has also helped us become better teachers.

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