Digital art

Wayne, Ashland and Holmes teachers’ creative programs

Wayne, Ashland and Holmes teachers' creative programs
Written by Publishing Team

When it comes to connecting with her choir students at Green Local Schools and helping them get into the music, Richelle Swineford says confidence is key.

“It is just kind of a small building process,” Swineford said. “And if they’re able to have that, that feeling of confidence, that’s going to come through when they’re singing.”

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Not all students are able to find this confidence boost in academic classes or sports, Swineford said, which leaves music and the arts as the space for them to embrace who they are and shine.

In honor of Youth Art Month and National Music In Our Schools Month, music and art teachers in Ashland, Holmes and Wayne counties share how they have helped their schools and programs grow.

Ashland County highlights the arts in school

Over the past 11 years Matthew Kidney has been grown the art teacher at Mapleton High School where he has the resources available to his students and helped the digital art program grow, too. Kidney said when he first started, the school had one pottery wheel and now there are nine and two kilns.

Mapleton High School art students stand with their newly designed and painted ODOT snowplows.  Art teacher Matthew Kidney said he usually does the project with his advanced art classes and has them work together in teams.

Although he specializes in ceramics, Kidney teaches a variety of classes, including basic art, painting and a digital art class, which recently got some upgrades. With the help of the school district, Kidney was able to update so the class has all Apple products — Macs and iPads — and a class set of pen tablets.

The tablets and iPads have been so popular with his students, Kidney said, many of them ask to check out the iPads over the weekends. Looking to the future, Kidney hopes to continue to grow the technology and get more iPads and a 3-D printer that prints clay.

Matthew Kidney (right) stands with his Mapleton High School art student Skylar Hildebrandt at the Ashland University gallery opening.

If a student takes an art, media or music class, there is a good chance they probably have Cameron Dedrick as their teacher or have seen him help with their class. Since joining the high school staff back in 2018, Dedrick has helped several programs grow so the school now has a National Art Honor Society chapter, a Fine Arts calendar and a Fine Arts Signing Day.

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