WXXI AM News

Students & Local Artist Collaborate On Murals At Teachers' Conference

Nov 20, 2015

Videography by Tom Dooley

A statewide conference of art teachers in Rochester is getting an up close and personal view of how art studies can benefit students in a number of ways.

There’s a mural project going on Friday and Saturday inside the Hyatt Hotel downtown. 

Four students from Rochester's School of the Arts are collaborating with local artist Nate Hodge on two 6X10 foot canvasses, painting the murals right outside the conference rooms where the New York State Art Teachers Association is holding its annual meeting.

The idea is to have the students and Hodge all  work together on the murals, to show how an art project like this can be empowering.

Jennieliz Santana is one of the SOTA students, and as she worked with yellow and gold colors, she talked about the way they affect her mood.

"Every person has their own personality. By using color, I'm more of a spiritual person, when I use certain colors it's how I feel. Using those colors like this, it makes me happy."

  Another student, Natalya Vega, says art is a kind of therapy for her.

"When there's something that I can't express through my words, I tend to draw it or paint and it helps me get through the situation, and that's what I usually do."

And artist Nate Hodge says the skills these students develop can serve them well as they head off into careers some day.

"You're willing to put something out there, it takes a certain amount of risk taking, there's a certain amount of snap decision making , so I think the spontaneity and stuff like that is good in any field."

One of the art teachers at Sota, Susan Rudy, says art is important in schools because it's about more than just creating different types of paintings, or sculptures or other objects.

"You can learn things through art like creative problem solving and critical thinking and all those things that you can't learn just in any classroom, and art connects to other subjects. Art helps you in math, it helps you read, it helps you look at things and find similarities and differences."

The student murals will be shown around the state eventually ending up on permanent display at the School of the Arts.