Flaws in the LHS Art System

Ida Sjodin

Students at Lexington High School should not be required to take a prerequisite Foundations of Arts class. At LHS, the two foundational art classes are Foundations of Fine Arts (FOFA) and Foundations of Digital Arts (FODA). These classes cover a broad spectrum of topics, giving students an introduction to the world of art. It is a prerequisite for more advanced art classes such as painting, photography, illustration, and more. 

There are several issues regarding the requirement to take a Foundations class, as many students, including me, already have a lot of experience in fine arts and digital arts. Although a freshman, I have already been learning about art outside of school for many years. I have spent a lot of time improving my drawing and painting skills and experimenting with new mediums. These are things that Foundations classes aim to do, and it becomes problematic when it repeats what many people already know. 

In the math department, for example, many freshmen take placement tests because they already know the content. It would be boring for these students to take Math 2 if they already know everything being taught. Foundations of Arts could be structured in a similar way.

To clarify, I do not think Foundations classes are unnecessary; they just aren’t as helpful to students who have practiced art independently and would learn more in advanced art classes. 

I am currently enrolled in FOFA, and the curriculum is very familiar to what students have already learned in middle school. 

Furthermore, some students already know what medium they prefer, but cannot concentrate on it due to FOFA’ broad focus. For example, let’s say that someone loves illustration. They’ve been doing it for years, and know that it is something they would like to pursue in their career. If they can’t access art classes outside of school, they might want to immediately go into an illustration class at LHS, but they can’t since they are required to go through a Foundations class first. It may seem like a very small problem, but if it isn’t always necessary, why should students be required to take it?

Another problem arises for students in their later years of high school, especially seniors: with a required Foundations class, their options for electives are very narrow. If a senior has a lot of art experience and would like to learn more about a certain element of art before they graduate, they only have the time to go through an entire beginning-level class. 

The main issue with Foundations of Arts Classes is that the class is too broad for students who already have a targeted concentration or want to further explore specific mediums. Like the school’s Math and Language levels, the Visual Arts department should allow intermediate and advanced students to test out of the FOFA classes and pursue art according to their skill level.