Neglected Program seeks more funding

Nadia Dutra is a senior who believes the art program deserves more recognition. “Art allows me to express myself in ways I can’t with words,” she said. “I grew up around art and it’s really unfortunate to see the lack of supplies and resources our campus has.”  

The Art Department has the usual paint brushes, pastels, color pencils, and paint. But with their limited budget, the teachers find it hard to fulfill the desires of passionate students. “We don’t have anything super luxurious,” art teacher Chuzin Vang said. “It’s affordable and comes in large quantities for a whole class.” Vang believes there are some students who have a real knack for the arts, like senior Jaycee Mangmoradeth.

“Art is my favorite hobby,” Mangmoradeth said. “I can’t really venture out and see what I’m capable of with the supplies we have here.” Although he appreciates the supplies offered to him, he still thinks there should be more funding.

The Visual and Performing Arts Department receives $13,000 per year, which is divided evenly between the five teachers covering art, drama and music. The money is issued to teachers in the beginning of the school year in hopes they get required supplies for the upcoming year. If the money isn’t used by March 15, it could possibly roll over to the next year or just be taken back.

“When students misuse the supplies, it creates hesitation for more funding,” Vang said. Every student is held accountable for their own actions. It’s up to the teachers to discipline and take action in a situation like that.

“If we could just invest in more things like stencils, posters, styrofoam for sculpting, and rulers, more kids would be engaged,” Dutra said. “I think they don’t really participate because we have to share and wait for certain supplies.”

Even though core classes are considered more important than VAPA courses, Principal Andre Phillips and Assistant Principal Gurvinder Chauhan hope to get their ideas approved and expand the Art Department.

“We want to find a teacher who has a degree in digital art,” Phillips said. “That would entertain so many students because it’s new and uses cool technology.” Depending on that answer from district board members, they will have more information on whether or not they will receive more funding and start the hunt for a digital arts teacher.  

Every year the department receives a different amount of money, this school year was more than the previous, and they will be getting the exact amount for the upcoming 2019-20 school year shortly.

“If there were more money for field trips maybe it would spark that interest for students,” Principle Andre Philips said. “Going to an art museum and taking a tour can show them how to appreciate art in all of its forms.”

Having more funding will expose students to the possibilities and careers they can pursue in the arts.