Visual arts students come back to campus for classes


Students enrolled in various visual arts courses reconnect with their peers in the same classroom on campus again, but this time requiring masks and social distancing.

Keira Jameson

As the rest of the community has begun its return to campus, the school has welcomed back visual and performing arts students. Those taking performing arts have had the opportunity to return to campus and either practice in rooms by themselves free of distractions or outdoors with another classmate. Visual arts students have been able to work in groups in select art studios.

The school has been following strict protocols, which allow for students to convene in small groups provided they maintain a six-foot distance between each other, wear KN95 masks and partake in mandatory COVID-19 tests before returning. This helps allow for a safe environment that both follows Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) guidelines and gives students a chance to reconnect with their classmates and get back into a school routine.

Visual arts student Gemma Lippman ’22 returned to campus on her assigned day of the cycle and said she was happy to finally see her classmates in person.

“A few of us went on campus last Friday—the protocol was pretty much the same as any other [on-campus] school activity,” Lippman said. “Around 13 of us went up to the art classrooms after school and worked on our paintings with masks on and distanced easels and everything. It was really nice to see everyone in person since it’s been really hard to actually get good looks at other people’s work and have the same meaningful connection while working over Zoom.”

Students in AP Studio Art returned to campus on more than one occasion , but other visual arts students were recently allowed to return to school for one day to reconnect with their peers.

As students reenter the physical classroom, Visual Arts Teacher Connor Thompson said it has been difficult at times to adjust.

“The trickiest aspect is coordinating all the supplies that our students use. In some examples those supplies are not easily transportable, such as oil paintings or sculptures,” Thompson said. “I think the social and emotional learning aspects of having students back on campus are paramount, so I will do my best to be flexible with our class time and not stress out too much about supplies for the moment.”

During the school’s closure, the administration worked to make changes and accommodations for in-person learning, such as installing air filtration systems and placing markings six-feet apart to serve as guidelines for students and faculty.

With regard to the protocol put in place for those who have returned to campus, visual arts student Lena Bagley ’22 said guidelines are being followed and that she is excited to be back on campus.

“We sign in and get our temperature taken, then we can choose to paint outside or in the studio where they have a couple of fans going,” Bagley said. “Everyone wears masks, and it’s been great to be able to work in the studio space again.”

Though visual arts students are able to take their classes in groups in their studios, students taking performing arts follow a different protocol. They aren’t able to practice with their entire class, but Billy Johnson ’22 said hewas grateful to sing with his friends once again.

“On the first day, [my friend] and I went outside and set up by the stairs,” Johnson said. “We got to sing together for a little while, which was so cool. It was such a relief to finally be able to hear another person’s voice and actually harmonize for once.”

Kate Hassett ’22 said she and other students have been lacking in-person connections, and she is ready to finally reconnect with her friends and work in an art studio as a group.

“I really love art, and I especially love doing art with my friends because then they can critique you and inspire you,” Hassett said. “Being in an art classroom is more than just using art supplies, it’s [about] being with a community again.”