During the pandemic, many students turned to art to express themselves when isolated. Self-expression is a crucial part of today’s culture and art is a self-expression medium accessible to all students. Changes in social norms have caused shifts in both art and artists in what type of art they produce and how they do so. Art has become a way for people to comment on the world around them.
Jess Budde is an art teacher at Kennedy. She teaches the Intro to Media class as well as a variety of other art classes. Her students enjoy her class, finding her to be a fun and relaxed teacher.
“It’s been an integral part of my life since [before] I can remember,” Budde said. “My mother was always a creative individual who loved art whether it was crafts or more elaborate type-things. I couldn’t imagine my life without it, it’s how I destress and how I show joy to others, too.”
Emotions and environments shape art so something as impactful as the pandemic could easily cause huge shifts in artistic perspectives. Budde believes art is a reflection of the world and can be a way of communicating.
“You can explore the [mental health components] for a while within art but also start to look at it how it can come from a place of positivity,” Budde said. “Art can be really dark but then sometimes you live in it and I’ve seen it where it almost compounds the darkness.”
Depression and anxiety had a massive spike among students in recent years. Harvard Health Publishing states that when students express themselves through art, it can help with depression and anxiety. Art has especially helped throughout the pandemic by being a safe way for people to work through increased depression and anxiety.
Art also helps students deal with the constant flow of information and emotions and aids in their education. According to Americans for the Arts, nine in ten Americans agree the arts are part of a well-rounded education. Kennedy is fortunate to have so many branches of art offered to students within the program.
“[Art] has taught me to always look at every challenge and say there is a solution here somewhere, we can figure it out,” said Budde
High schoolers who go through an art program often come out with more than just artistic skills.
“… a lot of times people talk about how [art classes] made them reflect on their life and their own personal growth, especially high schoolers,” Budde said. “A lot of them have a negative self-image of themself at this stage in life and it helps to see art as this unique thing that they do and just explore their lives within it. I think it definitely saves and helps people grow.”