Students get look at art careers

CMC hosts day to learn about artistry in professions

— The children seated before Tamara Bereznak Friday morning had never heard of chas turns.

They knew nothing about pli leaps or jazz squares.

Most of them, until that morning, never considered dance as art.

But after an hour of leaping, sidesteps and haphazardly trying to move to a beat, they left with a better appreciation for dance.

After a day of similar experiences with other art mediums, they understood why art involves more than just painting pictures on canvas.

"Art Careers in Routt County Day" exposed sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Hayden Middle School to a myriad of artistic disciplines.

Professionals, from photographers and musicians to chefs and landscapers, introduced students to their careers in art.

Colorado Mountain College hosted the one-hour sessions, and some local artists offered tours through their businesses.

Middle school faculty and parents wanted the students to look past preconceived notions of art as paint and brushes and see the presence of art in the career world, said Susan Koehler, who helped to coordinate the event.

In the past, the school held an arts and crafts day that encouraged students to make something but gave them no appreciation for art, Koehler added.

Hayden Middle School teacher Amy Pounds agreed the daylong event offered students something more than scissors and construction paper.

Friday gave them an opportunity to think about careers in art, Pounds said.

"It shows them that this is what an artist does, and this is what you can do for a living," she said.

Cale VanVelkinburgh, a local writer, wanted to get students thinking about literature and writing as art.

Writing is not always a priority with middle school students, he said.

With the help of magazines popular with their age group he showed his young audience the importance of words in society.

Eighth-grader Robin Cless attended one of VanVelkinburgh's discussions.

She learned about poetry and writing's prevalence in a number of different professions, Cless said.

Bill Rangtisch, a local architect, introduced his line of work to a surprisingly captive audience.

He was impressed with the students' attentiveness and pointed questions, he said.

After they asked about his income, they wanted to know how he came to be an architect.

He took the opportunity to show them the close relationship other art careers share with architecture.

Karen Schulman taught students to appreciate not only photography but also the life captured in those photos.

In photography, as in life, it was essential to first have an idea or thought, then find a goal, pursue it with passion and act on that idea, she said.

She wanted them to realize that any dream, whether photography or some career not related to art, required commitment and determination.

Ryan Youell looked determined as he tried to mimic Bereznak's dance moves.

Dance was just one of many new experiences for the seventh-grader.

Seventh-grader Angela Geis welcomed the chance to find artistry in everyday professions.

"We don't get many art classes, so it was good that the school did this," she said.

"I had never thought of a lot of it as art before today."

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