Montgomery County is a place full of high-achieving schools, sports teams, and education programs, but something that often gets overlooked is the arts. According to Katherine Stanton, a Rockville-area art teacher, “extra art courses outside of school are a way for teens to dedicate time to enjoying life through the arts and hone their skills—practice is needed for true talent to emerge.”
Many non-profit organizations around Montgomery County offer art programs for teens, and some of the best ones are pottery programs. These include VisArts in Rockville and Glen Echo Pottery in Glen Echo.
VisArts is an arts center with the goal of integrating art into the community and offering programs to the public. Since its opening in 1987, VisArts has had 15,000 people come through its doors to participate in its many opportunities. This arts center boasts many ceramics programs for students of all ages, including its “Wheel Away the Day” class, which offers classes for participants of different levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
For younger kids, VisArts offers Hand-building classes that teach the basic skills such as creating slabs and handles and adding textures to creations. Other popular programs include the Sculpture classes, which offer use of models and one-on-one instruction.
Along with VisArts, Glen Echo Pottery is a great place to learn the techniques of pottery and ceramics while reflecting one’s own personal creativity. This center provides a class specifically for young adults, “Pottery for Young Adults: Wheel Techniques,” in which the instruction focuses on the use of the pottery wheel. This class is for students of any experience. Advanced students have the chance to display their work in the Gallery at Glen Echo.
Leela Payne, an art teacher at Rock View Elementary School, believes that “the process of creating art is therapeutic. When we create art we are connecting to a piece of ourselves that usually is not tapped into. It can help us work out emotional problems, release stress and exercise a part of the brain that is usually left dormant.”
Stanton agrees, adding that learning art has practical applications. “Art teaches one about problem solving, creativity, literacy, communication, expression and patience in working to complete tasks at hand. Really no matter what career path one is thinking, art fosters everyday skills needed for every job.”
Art is beneficial for people of all ages, but specifically for teenagers, as art can provide an outlet for frustrations felt in other areas. Payne believes that art programs are “A place where there isn’t as much pressure of a right or a wrong. A place where what they think is important.” In the time of constant change and turmoil, art can provide very helpful skills and opportunities that will benefit teenagers both in the present and the future.
Article by the MoCo Student Staff Writer Daisy Grant of Richard Montgomery High School
Photo provided by courtesy of VisArts