Art isn’t just for suffering artists anymore. A group of teenagers added “art show” to their resumes last week by having their work from a high school class featured in Grace Ridge Brewery’s First Friday art show.
The display shows five pieces of metal or wood-and-metal art created by students in Homer High School’s Computer Aided Drafting and Computer Aided Manufacturing program. Students use an AutoCad program to design a piece, then a Computer Numerical Control plasma cutting machine to cut the work out of metal.
Instructor Lauren Seaton said there generally aren’t enough funds to support the materials needed for the class. She and students were selling pieces they had made at the Nutcracker Fair, she said, when Sherry Stead of Grace Ridge Brewery happened by. She asked if the class could create 10 signs made out of wood and metal to advertise the brewery, and Seaton asked if they could have a spot in the brewery’s First Friday shows.
Stead said she plans to put up the signs wherever Grace Ridge beer is being sold, as well as take them on the road when the brewery goes to festivals.
“I think it’s great,” she said of the students being featured at the art show. “Anything to promote the community.”
Seaton has 15 students in her class, which is taught on a semester basis. The students whose art was featured at the First Friday show are those who have now taken the class two or three times. Riley Jones, for example, is only a freshman but is in his second semester of the class. Jones said that while he wasn’t sure about the CAD class at first, he decided to take it after a cousin told him what a fun class it was.
“The designing part’s pretty fun,” he said. “And the finished product is probably the best part of it.”
Seaton said several of her students enjoy more difficult assignments, like creating a piece for an art show.
“They really like taking on a challenge, and getting to do big pieces,” she said. “They like having a lot of choice in things and so I gave them free range for design for the most part.”
The students did have to follow certain size restraints for the art show. Jones said he and some other students were a bit relieved when their projects for the show were finally finished.
“It was kind of stressful,” he said. “We had to put a lot of effort and detail into it.”
The older and more experienced Seaton’s students are, the more difficult assignments she gives them and the more choices they have. She said she gets asked to do all sorts of projects for the community, and tends to assign those to the more experienced students
“It’s really awesome that they (the community) want to teach the kids, I think … the lesson of working with business owners, working how to submit an order and follow through with an order,” Seaton said. “Learning communication skills.”
Many students Seaton teaches will go on to use CAD in engineering or some similar field, she said. However, the program is also being explored for its usefulness in education, and can be used for things like game design or building virtual models of buildings for firefighters to study.
“I’m kind of taking it (the class) because I enjoy it, but I could see it being used later on, like designing a home or something,” Jones said.