Schools

Partnerships play valuable role in art journey

February 28, 2020

What a difference 12 months makes. At the beginning of last year Woolooware High student Kyra Gilfallan was struggling with “white canvas syndrome” and now her art is on show in the Artexpress exhibition at Hazelhurst Gallery.

“I was daunted at the prospect of producing my major artwork,” Kyra said.

She credits her art teacher Lisa Cox for helping to lift her out of her creative rut and offering good advice for her art making.

“Ms advised me to practice on paper before putting it to canvas. She was a good teacher for both practical and theory components of the course.”

Also with her work on show at Hazelhurst Gallery for Artexpress, and having been taught by Ms Cox, is Claudia Kennedy.

“I first used charcoal for a portrait in year 11 and I really enjoyed using it, so I decided to use it for my HSC. But charcoal was still a fairly new medium for me so it was good to have someone to go to who was experienced,” Claudia said.

“Ms really helped a lot with tips about how to apply the charcoal.”

The body of work by peer Sophie Tilling will be included in Artexpress’s Virtual Exhibition.

Artworks by students from the school are often included Artexpress exhibitions.

Ms Cox said there’s lots of freedom for students at Woolooware High to explore mediums and techniques and find what art techniques they are best at while they are in year 11, “so they can stick to that for the HSC”.

And the students also benefit from the collaborative efforts of the school’s art teachers.

“A few weeks into year 12, each student has 15 minutes to explain to a panel of three art teachers what they plan to do and what they’ve done to date,” Ms Cox said. “The teachers give them suggestions such as artists to look at and techniques to try. It’s invaluable.

“If a student is interested in a particular technique and one teacher is more specialised in that art medium we’ll send them to that teacher for advice.

“Also, a panel of teachers mark students’ bodies of work [for the final school assessment] and gives them extensive feedback. They then have 10 days to act on any advice or criticism before their works are submitted for external marking.”

Ms Cox said teaching HSC Visual Arts students can be “a bit stressful, especially when they’re slow to get started”, but it’s incredibly rewarding.

“They grow and mature on their journey of art making.”

Kerri Carr is a staff writer

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Authorised by John Dixon, General Secretary, NSW Teachers Federation, 23-33 Mary St. Surry Hills NSW 2010

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