Arts Academy

in the Woods

Home // Art Integrated Education // What AAW Students Say about Arts Integrated Education

What AAW Students Say about Arts Integrated Education

There’s so much research that shows the effectiveness of learning through art for visual learners who tend to be more right brain-dominant.

But you could read all the research in the world and it still may not convince you. So why not hear what AAW students say about arts integrated education?

After all, they truly know the benefits of this sort of education. 

Something For Everyone: A School To Help Broaden Your Horizons

Laurence Vance understands firsthand the frustration of feeling stuck in a single discipline. AAW gave him the needed freedom to explore and find what makes him tick:

“A great thing about AAW is that, no matter what your major is, you can experiment in anything. You’re a dance major who wants to play guitar? You love to sing in the choir but you also want to act?

AAW lets you express your creativity any way you please. You never feel like you’re tied down to one art here. It’s easy to explore any medium of creativity. If you find out you don’t like one thing, you can easily pick up another and you’ll be supported no matter what.

Coming in as a freshman, I loved to draw and create characters. I even wanted to go to college for illustration and become a comic book artist. Yet after about a year or so, my interests changed. I no longer had the same passion towards drawing as I did, yet I knew I still wanted to create.

I felt stuck in my drawing classes because I felt as if I wasn’t improving. I didn’t know what to do. Family and friends urged me to continue and although I did, I was never happy with the outcome.

Then one day, out of my own curiosity, I decided to play with the clay in the art room and I felt as if I finally found what I wanted to do. So when it came to choosing classes for senior year I signed up for the sculpture and ceramics class and although it’s only been about a semester, I love working on the projects given and I really feel like I found what I want to do.

Here it’s ok to change your mind about what you want to do, unlike most schools where you choose what you want your freshman

year and you’re stuck there. But here, it’s even encouraged when you’re a senior to try out new things and get a feel for everything.

There’s really something for everyone at Arts Academy.”

Self-Deprecation: A Habit Best Left Behind

Aside from the freedom that AAW offers, students also learn real world skills through art. Faith Smith’s eloquent and inspirational words explain how her arts integrated education has taught her to find the good in everything:

“When it comes to being at a loss for compliments for my own art, I’m no stranger. During my freshman year, I really hated my art. I felt frustrated making it, and I despised my finished pieces. Part of me was convinced that this was an analytical mechanism that would help me become a better artist.

By being harsh on myself, I could make sure I stood up to the highest standards. This continued for three years, at which point I noticed that I was still hating everything I made, despite the fact that I had improved greatly since freshman year.

Despite what I believed, deprecating my own art was not going to help me get better, and the idea that it was a tool for improvement was a ruse. I decided to make the shift to thinking about my art from a neutral perspective instead of immediately bashing it.

I was able to not just be critical of my art, but able to see its good qualities I wanted to augment. This, in the end, was much more beneficial for bettering my abilities.

It may be tempting to rationalize and justify beating yourself up when it comes to art, but it is an irrational and unjust thing to do to yourself. It’s easier to say that you’re merely an over-achiever, or that it’s ironic, and that beneath the surface you know you’re a skilled artist, but in reality, it’s enabling a destructive habit, which can stunt your artistic growth.

Spending large amounts of time creating a piece, only to tear it apart and ignore any of its good points is, in essence, to waste your time. This can make creating in itself a frustrating ordeal that you may find is just not worth the inevitable ruthless criticism.

Having a balanced perception of your art is essential to knowing what to do less of, and what to do more of; unrestrained criticism is unaware of the latter. Make a point of finding something constructive or good to say about everything you make, even if in the right mind you hate it. Get into the habit of making yourself compliment your piece on at least one thing.

The journey of quitting a bad habit can be long, but this is a habit that is best left behind.

AAW Is AAWesome

Anxiety and depression are no strangers to many of those in creative endeavors. Especially for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. And standardized education does little to address anxiety and depression – often marginalizing students who struggle with them.

But that’s not the case at AAW:

“Before coming to AAW, I struggled with social anxiety and bouts of depression. I was often too stressed over school that I would lose my appetite and couldn’t sleep. I always felt like I was left behind and if I was bad at something, then there was no solving it and I’d have to suffer.

I am a closeted gay, trans male and have been since middle school, so I never felt like I could be comfortable anywhere or feel safe in my skin.

But since I came to AAW, I’ve been doing amazing in my classes. I’ve even made it into honors math classes since sophomore year.

I still get stressed, but my teachers are easy to talk to and are always willing to speak to and help me. Here I don’t feel left out, I can do things I want and not feel ashamed for being me.

Our school is very LGBTQIA+ friendly and students and staff will call you by preferred names and pronouns. They even add in a sheet for what to call you when speaking to parents so there is never a worry.

Speaking of the arts here, I’m a strong visual art student – drawing, painting, sewing, etc. In regular schools, I always knew I was a little better than the rest, but never fully confident enough to go out of my boundaries.

Coming here, my art teachers have pushed me and made me try new things. I didn’t have to like them all- but I got to know what I liked and could do more with them.

Pencil is now one of my favorite mediums. It’s easy to manipulate and you can buy graphite with different densities. My art teachers told me to make some pieces with only pencil. This put me in a comfort zone that let me make lots of different pieces, I’ve won awards for my art and I can thank them for it.

I have more confidence here and I feel better with my teachers. I feel like a person; someone who’s in their own skin and proud to wear it.”

Are You Liking What AAW Students Say about Arts Integrated Education?

Then come and check out Arts Academy in the Woods!

We offer open houses at the end of each quarter. We also provide shadow days for interested students so they can come in and tour a whole day with an AAW student. This gives them the chance to really get a feel for the school and hear what other AAW students say about arts integrated education.

If it’s time to make a change, then contact us today. And prepare for possibility.


* indicates required