The art curriculum at Cayman International School is a integral part of the school community. Mrs. Zenaida [Pereira], the middle-school and high-school art teacher, thinks that the art programme is incredibly important.
“I think that art is pivotal to the development of the entire person,” she says. “When students are exposed to art instruction from an early age, they are opened up to the basis of our potential as people.”
She says that although technique and its development are very important and build character, perseverance and the scaffolding for a more effective visual communication, art more importantly develops an individual’s sense of challenge and a framework of how to question the complacency of norms and how to take issue with one’s own perceptions.
“Art at a middle- and high-school level is the beginning of seeing and questioning, but it starts with understanding one’s relationship to materials and one’s ability to have a conversation with those materials as it is mediated with tools, skill and an inquiring mind,” she says. “The teaching of art at this level provides students with a window into taking risks and potentially changing the world with ideas fostered in their own hands.”
The Cayman International School middle school/high school art room holds a wide variety of art materials. From canvas, to clay, to a kiln, this room has it all. Students of all age levels use the materials in different projects. Sixth graders learn how to properly sketch animals, before moving onto a unit focused on making clay decorative tiles. Seventh graders start off the year by drawing and shading self-portraits with proper drawing pencils. They conclude the year by learning how to draw with oil pastels. Eighth-graders have spent the year using acrylic paints while replicating the style of traditional Caymanian artists.
The entire middle school and high school have currently taken a break from their main art projects. The art students are spending their time in class making clay bowls. The students have freedom to design the bowls however they like. Following the completion of the bowls, they will be sold and all proceeds will be donated to charity.
Cayman International School is a supportive community and student artwork is showcased. Walking into the art room is almost like walking into a museum. Pieces of all different mediums and colours cover the walls. It is amazing to look at this artwork and to see what middle schoolers and high schoolers can produce.
Ellie Nickason is a 12-year old student in Grade 7 at Cayman International School.