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Quarantine Brings Out Creativity in Sleepy Hollow Students

As students in the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns worked from home this past spring, they learned to express themselves in new and different ways. Sleepy Hollow Middle School and High School students, for example, created virtual art galleries and took part in projects that taught them about photography, drawing, graphic arts and videography. These are skills that they can continue to explore. 

“This was an important part of distance learning since it provided an opportunity for students to share their work with their peers and the community,” said Art Department Chairperson Angela Langston. “It also gave the students a sense of pride to have their work chosen for a virtual gallery.” 

SHHS students in the Digital Photography class based their projects on personal themes related to quarantine. One of the themes was, “What gives you comfort?” while another was “My Daily Routine.” Langston introduced the project through a video lesson that focused on the compositional components of photography, and the students then created their own digital photo essays.

The cumulative assignment for the Digital Photography class was for each student to create their own art exhibit that reflected their best work of the semester. The students were given a prompt stating that The International Center for Photography had heard about their amazing digital imaging photographs and wanted to exhibit four of their best pieces.

Freshmen Rachel Weiss titled her photography exhibit “Through One Lens.” “Photography brings the light and happiness to any darkness,” she said. “An image so simple can bring out depth, personality and creativity.” 

AP Art students in Kristen Dreher’s class each created a virtual art gallery that was showcased online at the Warner Library. Students included drawings of human figures that demonstrated the ideas of composition and proportion.

“For me, this past year was all about exploring the various outlets that art has to offer,” explained senior Molly Brennan in her gallery. “I really ventured outside my comfort zone.”

SHMS students learned about art history when they took a virtual tour of ancient Pompeii. Students also created a virtual journal where they expressed their emotions and recounted their time spent at home. Some students chose to draw their daily activities, and one student edited videos of news footage to document the changing landscape.

Teacher Andrea Harrison’s favorite lesson was called “You Can Be a Designer.” Students learned about the works of famous architects, builders and jewelers and then chose one object in their homes to redesign.

Harrison explained that working at home provided her the opportunity to work with the children on a more individual basis, and she hopes they continue to study on their own.

“The arts, with parental support, act as a vehicle to introduce all knowledge and to assist a student in discovering and perceiving meaning in the world,” said Harrison. “One of the biggest challenges to the arts was pivoting to accommodate for the many Pottery and 3D students in Mary Roendberg’s classes—how can we do ‘pottery’ without access to clay?”

The answer? A student survey sent out revealed that paper was a universal material that the majority of students had access to in their homes, so students switched gears and began creating origami sculptures. This flexibility and creativity is the perfect example of the perseverance and dedication that Tarrytown students have shown throughout this pandemic.