Apr 23, 2011
By Rob Morris
Tomorrow’s world-famous artist may be toiling away in anonymity right here in a Moore public school classroom. But even if fame eludes them, the students and their teachers say studying and creating art has enriched their lives beyond measure.
Some of their artwork, from kindergarten through high-school advanced placement classes, will be on display at the Moore/Norman Technology Center’s Penn Campus this Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Moore High School senior Shawn Ross says he’s been creating art “on purpose” since he was about 10 years old.
“It’s a really good way to express yourself,” Ross said. “People have a lot to deal with, a lot of drama, especially in high school.”
Ross enjoys taking everyday items like clocks and using them to create science-fiction themed works, particularly of the steam punk genre, which focuses on technology in a fantasy world where steam is still widely used.
Catherine Ockenfels is another Moore art student who loves a more “hands on” approach to art, working in chain mail. Ockenfels has been involved in art from an early age.
“I just grew up with a whole mix of different cultures of art—Bolivian, Middle Eastern, Irish,” Ockenfels said. “My mom and my dad just love art, so it just kind of started as something to do.”
Those who teach the subject say art does much more than just provide a release or an enjoyable activity.
“They do get to be creative, but we also use higher-order thinking skills,” said Debra Detamore, 3D art teacher at Moore High School. “Kids have to think through ways to solve art problems every day in our classes.”
John Cargill has been teaching for 22 years, including teaching art at Wayland Bonds Elementary for the past few years. Cargill says studies show a clear correlation between artistic expression and higher test scores in math and science.
“We know there’s a connection because of what the data says, but it goes beyond that,” Cargill said. “You can watch these students come into class, start to create and they just light up as they work out problems.”