By Dylan Miller

Eight weeks into the new art class, students are working on sugar skulls. While the skulls are a tradition from an early November Mexican holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the class is creating the project for Halloween. According to tradition, families decorated sugar skulls and placed them on an altar or gravestone to honor their deceased relatives.

Sugar skull art is very whimsical and each piece reflects the folk art style of big happy smiles, colorful icing and sparkles and glittery adornments. 

“We are focusing on the elements of art, shapes and color, and the sugar skulls met those requirements,” Art teacher Teagan Spears said. “The kids are a lot of fun and abilities are varied, but I’ve told them everyone can do this. It’s all about learning the elements and techniques.”

School administration implemented the semester class because student interest was high.

“Students have shown an interest in an art class for several years, and we wanted to give them the opportunity to show their creative side,” White Oak Middle School Principal Becky Balboa said. “This will allow students to do that.”

Student response has been positive to the addition of the course to the curriculum. Currently 20 students are enrolled in the art class.   

“I like that we get to color and draw,” eighth grader Mark Koehler said. “I like how it’s simple, yet you have to have a lot of patience on your projects.”

Prior artistic ability was not a prerequisite for the course and Spears says there is something for everyone in art.

“I love everything about art,” eighth grade Art teacher, Teagan Spears said. “I like that it is completely subjective. There is not just one style, but a style for every taste. I also like that there is no right or wrong answer. It is not simply black or white but a whole spectrum. Anyone can create, and I think that builds confidence and can be incredibly cathartic.”