Fulfilling Arts Education Graduation Requirements
When CSMA opened its doors at Finn Center, the very first students to enter the building were from Summit Preparatory High School, a Redwood City charter school. Since 2004, CSMA has provided intensive music and arts instruction to hundreds of Summitt “students-in-residence.” This innovative education partnership provides students like Esther M. with course credits fulfilling California state fine arts graduation and college entry requirements.
“Our partnership with CSMA is invaluable because it allows our students to study at a school that is exclusively devoted to the arts,” says Todd Dickson, Summit’s Executive Director. “Arts help to develop students’ abstract reasoning, critical thinking, and communication skills. CSMA has been key to helping us meet our goal of providing a well-rounded education.”
Esther is delighted to explore her creativity. “I know I really like art, and think if I really concentrate I can do what I want,” she explains. Recently, she has become enthralled by drawing’s technical aspects: ”how to do balance and line segments, and how to move your hand.”
Esther believes that CSMA’s art teachers “really help you in the classes with what you need. They give you examples; they don’t really tell you what to do. They give us information, and then we have to try ourselves.” When she gets to a finished product, “it’s like ‘well finally!’ It’s pretty fun to see!”
Painting, she reports, requires discipline because “we have to first sketch an example, and then draw it again, draw it again -- and then paint it.” However, she’s excited about the process because her instructors “always tell students that they’re really doing a good job, and suggest that we could do something another way to make it more challenging. And then convince us that we can do it!”
Esther has experienced the promise and magic of arts4all. She now understands that “everybody can do art, even though they think they can’t. It doesn’t matter if you can’t really draw because anything you can do with your hands and a piece of paper is art.”
”One day,” Esther says, “I would like show people what I really can do!”