When there are limited resources at any level of education, arts programs tend to be the ones on the cutting board.
Sports are important for physical fitness for our students, provide an outlet for energy and provide some scholarship opportunities their grades may not give them.
The arts, however, always seem to be treated as the expendable programs. If there is no money in the budget, often the decision is to cut music, drama and art to make up the difference.
There needs to be a balance of both opportunities for our students.
Jenn McQuade, an art teacher at John McGregor Secondary School, is loved by staff and students alike for bringing art projects to not just her classes but the whole school, promoting inclusivity and collaboration for all students, be they jock, brainiac or artist. Check out our story on page 19.
The recent Obliteration Room project gained a life of its own after McQuade’s class was able to visit the exhibit of the artist Yayoi Kusama at the AGO in Toronto, whose work inspired the students to do a project on a smaller scale. What started as an Education Week project has morphed into something the whole school, the 2018 graduates and a school board trustee want to participate in.
More than 36,000 coloured dots will be adhered to the mini-room by graduation by students who are finding the process calming and de-stressing; even those students who aren’t generally interested in art. The entire student body become involved, and anything that can bring a whole school together, like sports bring out school spirit, deserves an equal share of the spotlight and resources.
The school Booster Club (staff with big hearts) and community donations helped make the project a reality and McQuade deserves a great deal of credit for the innovative ideas and the enthusiasm for inclusive art she brings to John McGregor.
Whether its sports, arts, music or academia, let’s encourage all the different talents that make up our schools and give all students an outlet for their genius.