Sustainability in Art Classes: A Proposal

In recent years, Belmont Hill has seen a surge in demand for and popularity of environmentally-conscious classes. From the consistent enrollment of seniors in AP Environmental Science to the creation of a new senior inquiry, “Energy: Economy, Environment, and National Security” taught by Dr. Buckley, it seems many departments have made strides to include the environment into their curriculum, but not the arts. Although students are only required to take one semester of participatory arts from Forms III to VI, these classes serve a unique role in BH students’ academic careers – they are among the first opportunities to take an elective course – and that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Essentially, ambassadors for the arts at Belmont Hill as well as for the larger selection of electives available on campus, participatory art classes may weigh heavily on students’ course selection process. If students see these courses as just another hoop to jump through in order to graduate, the future does not bode well for the Arts Department and, by extension, other departments with electives. Instead of actively engaging and participating in electives with interest and enthusiasm, students will probably try to coast through a course with minimal effort and, given the choice, may even seek to avoid electives in the future. Thus, it is in the best interest of the Arts Department to adapt to the changing times and to include environmentally-focused classes in their curriculum.

Creating art through upcycling could be a great basis for the flagship course in the arts emphasizing environmentalism. Upcycling is the act of reusing discarded objects to create a product of higher quality or value. In art, that would like using trash or recyclable materials to create sculptures, clothes, etc. The benefit of a class centered around this premise would be two-fold. For one, the art department would be able to attract environmentalists among the student body to take more classes or to take a greater interest in an art requirement. Furthermore, by introducing an upcycling course, the Arts Department would promote much-needed sustainability on the Belmont Hill campus and may even help to significantly reduce the school’s environmental footprint, something which I am sure the Sustainability Club would appreciate. I really hope the Arts Department will consider such a change. I know I would be in Robsham more because of it.


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