Art Lab


Keely Groholski, Writer

Ever since the photography, painting, film and other art-related clubs disbanded, a new club has arisen enlightening young artists’ interests in new types of media. Encountering professional artists who share their feedback and passion for art. The teachers who help the students fit the time into their schedule, and other students helping others progress in their love for art. To make the world a little bit more of a creative place.   

Imagine the smell of paint, the sound of pencils flying across sketch paper, the warm sensation of a growing community of artists. This feeling can be experienced in the newly formed Art Lab. 

This club is known for pushing boundaries in art, through spray painting, water slide decals, and even more. 

The club was envisioned last year when the painting, photography and other art-related clubs were lacking members.

“Students are so busy, they are so active in so many different clubs, activities, and seasonal sports. Attendance was very sporadic and people would start a project and not be able to finish it because they would come one time and then miss the next, and then the next and so on. Then we were done with the project and we ended up with all these half-done projects and the kids were frustrated,” Sarah Shatto-Jones, art teacher, said. 

The teachers were confused about what to do, so they decided to create Art Lab. 

“We proposed the idea last year, with the event featuring all four teachers showing off fiber arts, film, photography, drawing, ceramics, all of those different things were represented,” Jones said.

Art Lab seemed to have gotten a lot of attention at the event, and the teachers proposed the idea to a couple of students, suggesting monthly, after school activities that the students could participate in, and they loved it. 

The members have expressed that the positive atmosphere is what draws them to Art Lab. Some even say that people are the most important part of the club.

“We all bond over the art we make and people like to give each other tips. When we were spray painting with stencils with Jarrod Tobias, many people were walking around and giving others tips on making interesting effects with the spray paint,” Sophia Hartley (10) said. 

A lot of students felt stuck, only drawing with a pencil and paper. After joining  Art Lab, they can experience new ways to express themselves through their passion for art.

“Art Lab brings in artists that are willing to show young students what they do and how they can do it too. I’ve been doing art for a long time, but Art lab is teaching me different art techniques and styles,” Lauren Bower (9) said. 

Inside Art Lab, professional artists show kids that it is possible to live out their dream working as an artist, and showing them that there is more to art than just sitting down with a couple of paints. Jones explains how they choose what local artists to bring in.

“We think of what activities we are going to do, and think of who is an expert in that area. And so with Jarred Tobias who was a speaker for us last year at Art Lab and the students who came to Art Lab loved it. The concept of street art, contemporary art, and public art is really prevalent right now in our own city with all of the murals,” Jones said. 

Jarod Tobias is a well-known street artist, he has painted many murals in downtown Fort Wayne. He and his wife Kara finished a   mural down by Firefly Coffee House. He says that with their art they can change the world. 

In Art Lab, students can finally find a way to express themselves through different mediums and to enjoy art instead of just having a grade stamped onto it. 

“Though I already had a passion for art, It helped me to discover that I enjoy making art with other mediums and materials than I would normally. I find it enjoyable that I am learning new styles and branching outside of my comfort zone,” Anastasia Ladig (10) said.

In Art Lab, students get to work in many different mediums, the most recent being Waterslide Decals. 

“Waterslide Decals are when the students are using found objects to do waterslide decal transfers which are essentially temporary tattoos for ceramics,” Jones said.

The “temporary tattoo” style presents members with many ideas on what to put on their found items.

“I was gonna put a moth on my plate because they look cute and are kinda underrated,” Deann Top (11) said. 

Some students who were in art clubs last year were disappointed when they disbanded. They were searching for an outlet that could fill the desire to create something that they are proud of when during the announcements, the mention of an Art Lab seemed to pique their interest. 

“I did Art Club last year so I was looking for something,” Top said. 

And Art Lab does not just help for creating art to take home, but it also provides experience for future jobs. 

“I want to be a video game designer, so I have to do 3-D modeling. We learned art composition, which also helps things look more appealing,” Top said.

Some students join because they want to have some entertainment, and relax after school. As not every member has to be passionate about art, but everyone is welcome. 

“I just want to do this for fun, as I am not serious about Art,” Sarah Top (9) said.

The Art Lab is built on a very unique base as not every student has a commitment. As a member can just attend one class and only have to pay 4 dollars for that one activity or 10 dollars for the entire semester.

“You don’t have to be an active member. I am missing a lot of students due to band right now, and in the spring I will probably lose a lot of students to show choir, but Art Lab is nice because you can just attend specific topics that they are interested in learning more about, rather than be apart of a club in an area that is not of interest,” Jones said.

Art Lab may be new, but it is just as interesting and creative for students who are passionate and want to create something that they are proud of, or for students who need to relax and want something creative to do after a long day of school.