Dimond Art Program Offers Wide Range of Classes

Cullen Lickingteller and Tom Ehmann run the art program at Dimond High School.

There are five art classes that students can take, beginning with Art One, moving to Art Two, Advanced Art, and finally on to either Advanced Placement (AP) or Independent Art.

Art at Dimond is a year-long class. Students who take these classes can take art all four years of high school, but students can start the class at any year of their high school career. They just won’t make it as far into the program if they don’t start their freshman year.

In Art One students build the foundation of two-dimensional and three-dimensional art pieces. Students learn the basic steps and have help the entire way.

In Art Two students focus on more complex projects and refine their skills and techniques. They make pieces using the techniques they enjoy, while also learning new and more difficult techniques.

Advanced Art allows freedom to explore what the students enjoy on a deeper level. They learn to make a portfolio focusing on one thing to prepare them for AP Art if that’s the direction they want to go in.

AP Art students make portfolios for college.

According to Lickingteller, the portfolios have between 21-29 pieces students send to colleges. The artist can choose the theme they want to pursue for their portfolio. They can choose between drawing, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional pieces.

AP Art is the most challenging class students can take in the art department. The artists have to spend eight-plus hours outside of class a week to even be close to succeeding Lickingteller said.

Art is also objective; not everyone is going to like the pieces that are made, which makes the student’s chances to get a good grade on their portfolio difficult.

If AP isn’t the direction students want to go in, Independent Art is an alternative.

In this class the student make any art form that they want. The students don’t follow any guidelines for the projects being made. The artist can make any art their hearts desire.

The expectations for Independent Art is to make a certain number of pieces in a semester. The artist still makes a portfolio, but it’s not submitted to colleges.

Going through all these classes no matter how far along students are, they are constantly learning new things.

Lickingteller and Ehmann can teach every kind of art, although, right now Lickingteller teaches two-dimensional art techniques like painting, drawing, and printmaking.

In the art room next door, Ehmann teaches three-dimensional pieces like jewelry and ceramic pieces.

Dimond’s art program is the only school in the Anchorage School District that switches teachers every quarter.

“We switch every quarter so we can be exposed to two different personalities and teaching methods,” Ehmann said.

“In my opinion art is important because it teaches people how to think creatively and it teaches problem solving.

“My favorite thing about teaching is teaching students to be successful,” he said.

Lickingteller thinks that “art is important because there’s no language barrier to art, it crosses all cultures and all times. It’s also an outlet for many people.

“My favorite thing about being an art teacher is seeing kids realize they’re able to create beautiful art,” Lickingteller said.

Junior Abby Owen, an Independent Art student, said that “art is important because it is a fun outlet.

“Having all AP classes, it’s nice to go into a class to make art and be able to relax for a class period,” Owen said.

“The most challenging thing about art is drawing for me. It’s hard to portray a meaning with your art, especially since drawing isn’t my strong suit.

“The best piece I’ve ever made is my pottery bowl that I made on the wheel. I love the way I painted it and it spun evenly!” Owen said.

“Art is my favorite class and I highly recommend anyone to take this class”