Turn, turn, turn: Regis receives arts grant to fund ceramics classes

May, 2018 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, Community

By Mary Owen



A Google search for arts education grants has led to a windfall for Regis High School’s ceramics classes.

“The grant is from an organization called Keeping the Arts,” said Eric Loftin, who teaches ceramics. “Keeping the Art’s mission is very much in line with our school’s being in rural settings, and the application process was very accessible and relatively quick through their website.”

Loftin said the $1,800 grant allotment for the school’s Fine Arts program will be used to purchase a new pottery wheel for the art studio at Regis, allowing for much faster turn-around time and access for students to work on
the potter’s wheel.

“It will also be invaluable for me as a teaching aid for wheel-throwing techniques as I will now be able to work alongside students as needed,” he added.

Ceramics at Regis has not been its own class throughout Loftin’s term at Regis, since 2006.

“We have done various levels of ceramics projects in the past as part of curriculum in other classes, primarily 3D Design,” he said. “However, I really feel that ceramics is an area that we can build effectively with just a little work that will allow the visual art program to reach a wider demographic of student within our school.”

Loftin said the curriculum is currently in the planning stage for RHS’s new 18-week Ceramics 1 and 2 courses that will explore both functional wares, including wheel-throw work, as well as sculptural works. Additionally, an Intro to Ceramics course will offer students the basics in hand-building techniques, he said.

“Ceramics, like all art, teaches students to process information in a different way,” Loftin said. “When learning in an arts-based class, student achievement, knowledge retention, morale, and student ownership and agency over their own learning show marked improvement.

“While there is certainly a focus on technique and ‘how’ to do something in my classes, I often push my students to explore ‘why’ as well,” he said. “At its core, ceramics is very process-oriented, blending a substantial amount of science with aesthetic choices as students learn about colorants, quartz inversion, chemically-bonded water, and the like.”

Loftin said ceramics, like all art, is also a study of human history and culture. “Beyond students taking home their wares and having the gratification of creating something, they are tapping into a greater world of shared human experience,” said Loftin.

“I would just like to thank Steve Gehlen, David McGinnis, and the rest of the board of Keeping the
Arts for this gift,” he said of the grant opportunity. “It is so very much appreciated and I just hope to keep our momentum going in the arts at Regis.”

Keeping the Arts is an Oregon-based nonprofit that raises and grants money to support K-12 arts education in the state. The organization was co-founded by Valerie Day and Gehlen, chairman of the Portland Creative Conference.

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