The ARTicle

Written by Alex Livesey

Many students and parents have felt under pressure when picking both GCSE’s and A levels after the media released lists of academic subjects which universities may prefer, and the government suggesting students take what they call ‘more academic’ subjects. Fulford’s Art and Design department is held in high regard with strong numbers at GCSE – 3 groups in Years 10 and 11, and in the Sixth form.

Despite this, I have often heard students and adults profess ‘Oh Art’s a bit of a doss’ ‘Oh design is easy’, hearing this so many times I feel I need to dispel this awful myth and set the records about Art and design straight!

With exams recently finished, GCSE art students had their work showcased in the Echo. Most students were lucky enough to take a walk around and see some of the fantastic work Year 11 produced; with all the pieces showing an individual and unique talent with flair and ambition.

However, if students missed this opportunity they only need to take a walk around school and look at their surroundings to see the exquisite work this department produces each year. Students’ work, from all years, is exhibited throughout the school; from giant still-life canvases, to self -portraits, to sculptures and models intricately crafted – you’re bound to find something that catches your eye and inspires you.

It is this work that brightens the walls of Mr Smith’s office and makes the corridors, canteen and Sixth Form common room a pleasure to walk through.

Design is not the ‘easy’ subject that so many seem to pass it off as. Art and Design pupils are some of the most committed and hard-working students, who spend hour upon hour to achieve their vision. This effort and dedication is evident in the work produced by Year 13 this year, with many of them spending every free hour, minute and second working away, and I’m sure they’ll agree that it was worth it.

Some people think that Art leaves few options for career paths (other than being an artist). However, post A level Art has one of the best conversion rates of any subject; of the 19 students who have just completed their A2, all but 3 are going on to Art & Design related courses. Most will join the Foundation Course at York College, followed by an Art degree and one student is going straight onto a degree course in Design Engineering. Two have places at Leeds College of Art, whilst others have places at Glasgow School of Art, Camberwell College, to study product design. One student is taking an Art and English combined degree.

I took a visit to H25, Mrs Finch (Head of Department)’s art room. As you step into her classroom it’s an Aladdin’s cave of treasures with developing ideas bouncing off every wall. I spoke to previous Sixth Form student, Rebeka Reid, who is now in her second year at Northumbria University studying Fine Art. Before getting her place at university she studied an Art Foundation degree at York College as this is often a vital step before applying for a Design related degree at university. Rebeka told me when she applied to her five universities she got three rejections, despite her A at A level, great portfolio and foundation degree. She said ‘I had to go to an interview for Northumbria, there was over 1000’s applicants for the course and only 80 places. It’s so competitive!’ Whilst studying at university she found that a real strong work ethic was needed; ‘You’re expected to read up on everything, go to any exhibitions that are on at the time. Your lecturers expect you to have good awareness’

She is now doing a placement here at Fulford School as she is considering teaching the subject. She has also secured herself placements with a top Art gallery, moderating exhibitions. ‘It’s a great subject and helps you explore who you are, but it’s something you need to work hard for and really show commitment’.
Often people struggle to understand the concept of Art as a subject and many hold the opinion that anything can be passed off as art. However, people fail to see that art is a subject which allows students to express themselves and their ideas in a way that no other lesson in school does. It allows you to be limitless, open-minded and think outside the box, leaving you with an end product that really means something to you.

So isn’t it time that everyone saw the ‘art’ in ‘smart’?