Drama teacher Todd Schaefer believes having a fine arts credit benefits students.
“It builds a better human,” Schaefer said.
“Sixty-one percent of students with high arts involvement planning to get a degree and go to college, vs 42% with low arts involvement,” according to James S. Catterwall and Gillian Hampton-Thompton in “The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth (National Endowment for the Arts.)”
Webster Groves High School requires one fine arts credit to graduate; Schaefer thinks more could be beneficial.
“I don’t think one fine arts credit for every graduate is enough. I think you should be getting four, in my opinion. One fine arts credit for every year to train that creative literacy,” Schaefer said.
The arts are often overlooked in society or students as art, teacher Jocelyn Reiss said.
“People have the impression that the arts are kind’ve a soft spot or an easy A. I think that’s kinda pervasive,” Reiss said.
Overall people can’t deny that Webster is the City of the Arts.
“Webster’s like the city of the arts; I know we had All-Write and participated in that,” Reiss said.
Webster Arts, originally called Webster Community Foundation, was started by members of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in 2001. One of the events that Webster Arts brings to the town incldue the Webster Arts Fair, which is a three-day event that showcases art from artists including Webster Groves students.
“High Arts groups consistently outscored low arts groups on measures of creative thinking,” according to Judith Burton, Robert Horowitz and Hal Abeles in their ‘Learning in and Through the Arts: Curriculum Implications.’
“You’re not going to get to use your degree right out of college. You’re going to have to go do other things and find your way into the industry…It (fine arts) teaches creative literacy. Everything is teaching your brain to kind of look at something through an aesthetic lens as opposed to a STEM lens,” Schaefer said.
Junior Frances Baken noticed that being in an environment like an art class helped her to have more creative and new conversations.
“I’ve noticed that in my art classes I’ve taken; I always meet new people and we have new conversations. That wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t in a creative and open space,” Baken said.
Featured graphic shows sophomore Audrey Culver as she works on the drama department’s spring play Harvey (2022) . Culver does hair and makeup for the project. Photo by Lydia Urice
This will be Soledad Lee’s first year on ECHO Staff. She also made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year.