Darlene Lilla, Ed.D., Director of Fine Arts
The study of the arts is a vital part of a child's well-rounded education and a necessity in any well-structured, comprehensive educational program. It is the goal of our Half Hollow Hills art staff to create a learning environment and atmosphere where the creative spirit not only grows, but flourishes. Inherent to this goal is the awareness, development and implementation of the Arts to all students who desire it. Consequently, we strive to maintain a professional learning community that fully supports the Arts in an endeavor to give our students a well-rounded, diverse education, rich in all areas of learning. An education in absence of the Arts cannot endure!
Art instruction in Half Hollow Hills has been a chief resource for expanding students' experiences beyond their immediate surroundings. Instruction in the arts encourages students to take pleasure in performing and creating, regardless of their talent or previous experiences. Our art students learn about and utilize tools and resources, and learn to observe and appreciate fine art while applying critical standards to understand how the arts reflect and broaden the history and cultures of the world. The State Education Department reports that our understanding of the way people learn is changing. In "Frames of Mind", author Howard Gardner reminds us that schooling has not fully tapped all of the intelligences that children possess. According to Gardner, schools focus primarily on the logical/sequential, mathematical and interpersonal intelligences, while the intelligences that Gardner labels visual/spatial, musical, kinesthetic, and intrapersonal are less well represented. Studies show that these intelligences, the ones most directly addressed in arts education programs, are important not only for their own sake, but as vehicles for learning in every area of study.
Art instruction is available to all students in grades K-12. Half Hollow Hills students are given opportunities to create works that explore different kinds of subject matter, topics, themes and metaphors. Students are taught to understand and use sensory elements, organizational principles and expressive images to communicate their own ideas. Students develop skills in the use of a variety of materials, processes, mediums and techniques, and use appropriate technologies for creating and exhibiting visual art works. They engage in individual and group visual arts projects and describe various roles and means of creating, exhibiting and performing works of art.
In grades K-5, all students receive a weekly art lesson. Art clubs are available as after-school programs for those students who wish to further engage their talents. As they enter the middle schools, students receive 10 weeks, 20 weeks and 20 weeks of art instruction in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, respectively. In the eighth grade, advanced students are given the opportunity to participate in "Studio in Art", a high school-level course, for graduate credit. Art clubs are also available to middle school students who wish to further develop and utilize their artistic skills.
In the high schools, students are offered a variety of art electives encompassing the full range of art mediums. Courses include Studio in Art, Media Arts, Creative Crafts, Design and Drawing for Production, Photography, Ceramics and Sculpture, Web Design, Video Production, Computer Graphics, Architectural Design, Fashion Illustration and Fashion Design, Drawing and Painting and Design and Illustration. Our high schools also offer the full spectrum of Advanced Placement Art Courses for possible college credit, including Drawing, Two-Dimensional, Three-Dimensional and Art History. After-school activities include an Art Honor Society and various art clubs and art service clubs.
Student accomplishment in art is evident at all grade levels. The success of our programs is evidenced by the number of students recognized for their artistic talents. Our staff members pride themselves in providing as many out-of-district opportunities as possible for their students, including shows, contests and exhibits in a variety of venues. Each year, many of our Half Hollow Hills elementary and middle school art students participate in and achieve awards from several different local, state and national poster contests and art competitions. In addition, Half Hollow Hills sponsors its own district-wide Elementary Art Festival and Secondary Juried Art Show. At the high school level, many students are recognized for their talents at the Heckscher Museum of Art, the Huntington Camera Club, the annual National Congressional Art Competition, the Long Island Media Arts Show and the Suffolk County Art Leaders Association competitions. Half Hollow Hills students are consistently recognized in Newsday for having Scholar Artists in the prestigious Long Island Arts Alliance's Scholar Artist Program. In addition, state honors and national recognition have been credited to students participating in the PTA National Reflections Program. Artists in our advanced high school classes have won statewide contests for architectural design. Additionally, students and staff involved with our high school Fashion Design and Illustration classes have put together fabulous fashion shows for the entire community to enjoy.
For updated highlights of current student achievements in art, click "Student Achieivements" in upper left drop-down menu of this page.
These individual and group achievements are reflections of the Half Hollow Hills art programs throughout the District. The newest standards of achievement prescribed by the State Education Department outline and codify the curriculum this district has been presenting for many years. These standards will be reflected in revised and updated curriculum guides continually being developed on a year to year basis. We will continue to focus on the development of talent and potential, while providing every student with opportunities to excel in programs of his or her choice.