Five Students Inspired to Share their Talents in Art

Art portfolio collage

"Guide us Lord as we journey to make the world a more beautiful place, by using the gifts you have given us.”

What seems to be a simple, straight forward prayer was nothing of the sorts this year for students in St. Rita’s Advanced Placement Art class. This prayer was said every morning before class started to recognize the talents of each of the students and to inspire those students to share their art with the world.

Five students took this prayer to heart and spent their entire senior year creating a drawing portfolio that included 29 different pieces of art which was submitted to the AP Central/College Board. The Board reviews every portfolio that is submitted across the country and gives the project a grade.

Brandon Mitchell, Will Keefer, Anton Thauer, Matthew Bigeck, Esteban Hernandez took on a challenge that had never been accomplished before in Ms. Robyn Kurnat’s AP Art class.

The biggest challenge the students faced was the requirement of creating only original art. Students were encouraged to study and learn about another artist’s work that they admire as well as looking over published photographs. These were only used as tools for self-inspiration, each student then had to take that inspiration and create his own, unique art.

This process is a bit of a journey and a trusting atmosphere needs to exist between the teacher and the individual students as well as the class as a whole. Professor Kurnat believes the students created such an environment.

These students were brave enough to talk a lot about their work, which is helpful to everyone in the class as they relate it to their own pieces,” Kurnat stated. “The students really put forth a great effort to improve their technical skills while stepping out of their comfort zones in order to really get in touch with their own ways to express themselves visually.”

Robyn Kurnat and St. Rita High School is continually striving to enhance the fine arts program with a focus on the skill building that is necessary from one year to the next. The goal is always to value the process as well as the product and attempt, at the very least, to grow an appreciation of the visual arts for all students in the school.

This is evident as two of Kurnat’s students, Esteban Hernandez and Brandon Mitchell will be attending The American Academy of Art in the fall.

“The fact that these students had such successful experiences is very gratifying for me as their teacher,” Kurnat stated, “but even more so because I know they will use what they gained here the rest of their lives.”