Features

The ‘Underground Art Classes’ of UHS

By DANIELLA RAPPARPORT
Staff Writer

Last week was University High School’s Spotlight Week of the arts, but what classes stayed behind the curtain? UHS offers an abundance of art classes, a total of 36 by the course catalogue. With so many options to chose from, not many people hear of the smaller courses. Some students may graduate, never knowing that a class such as Music Technology or the Art of Fashion are offered at UHS. However, such classes are offered on campus and each has a small following all of their own.  

Music Technology is both an ROP class and an art class that focuses on learning actual workplace skills. Music Technology is relatively new, having been created only four years ago. The teacher, Mr. Justin Olvey (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), calls the focus of the class; composition, mixing, editing, and manipulating of sound digitally. The course is taught in the Mac Lab of Mrs. Hali Kessler (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) and is made up of 30 or so students spend most of their time working collaboratively in groups of 3 to create music.

Students work on the computers, both studying and creating music (Ben Schneiderman).

When asked what his favorite part of the class is, Ben Schneiderman (Jr.), said, “I can’t pick a favorite thing we have done so far because in every assignment what we do is so diverse, so it’s really interesting. It’s not just one genre, like we go from making rap to electronic music to weird old music, not that old music is weird.”

The class does have a prerequisite which makes it exclusive to students with experience in playing specifically the guitar or piano. However, extensive knowledge of either instrument isn’t required. Schneiderman said of his classmates, “I like the people in Music Tech. They are really dedicated to making some really good stuff, and there are people who have never made any music before that go into that class and make genuinely amazing things.”

Like with any class, Olvey says, “You get out of this class what you put into it. It’s super individualized, each kid gets something different from this class, but hopefully it’s something they remember fondly. Even if they don’t go into a music career, the skills of time management and the skills of being creative, intermixed with technical skills will help you move forward in life.”

Even younger than Music Technology, The Art of Fashion class just began it’s second year here on campus.Teacher Mrs. Judy Marquez (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.) doesn’t think there is any like it in the district. Marquez teaches her students fashion through history lessons and design projects. She says, “I’m really encouraging people to explore the possibility of fashion as a career. There are wonderful programs at the community college level that allow you to specialize in an area that you choose and then go on and transfer to a Cal State and get a bachelor’s degree in fashion.”

Aspiring fashion designer Cristiane Puig (Jr.) plans on doing just that. She loves the mixture of learning the art and history of fashion.

“My favorite thing about the class probably would be that it’s a small and very intricate, so you get to learn a lot more in depth of what fashion is.”

The history portion of the class includes lessons about the eras of fashion (e.g.  Fashion in the 1920’s). As for design, the students are currently exploring costume design and recently pitched some of their designs to the dance company. These costume designs may be used in the dance showcase.

Students work on their designs for future pieces (Corey Chen).

“We are going to be creating a recycled purse where the student is inspired by a vintage look and recreates their idea of a handbag using recycled materials” said Marquez when she was asked about their future projects.

Art of Fashion is just getting started and Marquez is inviting any student that would like to join, I only teach one small class and we would welcome anyone that would want to come second semester.”

Classes like Art of Fashion and Music Technology are a privilege that not many schools have and provide a great opportunity for students who want to start exploring career options early. Puig understands this and was ecstatic when she found out UHS offered Art of Fashion.

“I would have had to have taken a class outside of school if it wasn’t here. I’m glad the school offers it because it’s more convenient and you’re getting high quality classes that you would get in college.”

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