McClatchy’s New Visual and Performing Arts Program

The McClatchy Art Department is working hard to put together a Visual and Performing Arts program (VAPA) that will be ready to launch its first stage in the fall of 2016. This program is meant for students who know they want to study some form of art in college, and will help them create a portfolio that is required for entering a university with an art major.

The teachers involved include Mr. Jorge Munoz, Ms. Jeris Baker, Ms. Mollie Morrison, Ms. Lenore Devereux, Mr. Patrick Cosgrove, and Mr. Jonathan Hubbard. Mr. Cosgrove, the Photography and Film Studies teacher, says the group of instructors discuss the program “at least a couple times a week. Sometimes they are just emails, but sometimes we take days off” to discuss the logistics of the program. According to Cosgrove, most teachers have been working to put this program together for the last two years, but some teachers, like Mr. Munoz, the music director, have been working towards the program’s creation for the past five years.

The first phase of this program will begin in the fall of 2016. It will consist of a single class called “VAPA Wheel,” which will be a combination of four different art classes in one year: photography, graphic design, ceramics, and drama. Every quarter, students who participate in the Wheel will switch between the classes, allowing them to experience many different kinds of art. The point of this Wheel will be to test the waters with this new program and give students a chance to figure out which art form they are most interested in. After this initial stage, VAPA will become a full fledged program, similar to the other programs at McClatchy, where students enrolled in the program will take many specialized classes that will prepare them for a career or college major in art.

VAPA is intended to be a program that McClatchy students enter as freshmen, but Cosgrove explains that it would probably accept future sophomores and juniors next year as well. He admits that “it is hard to know what [the opening of the program] would mean” for required entry-level classes for VAPA and how upperclassmen would be able to fulfill these requirements. For example, the program plans on making an entry level drawing class required because the Art Department believes drawing is crucial in learning the fundamental elements of art.

Since this program focuses on art, and art classes are normally considered electives and do not have to be taken in great number to graduate, students participating in VAPA would still have to take required classes like History, Math, Science, etc. Because of this, there may be some unique aspects to a VAPA student’s schedule that might not allow them to also participate in other McClatchy programs such as Law and Public Policy, the Criminal Justice Academy, HISP, or ROTC.
The VAPA program is going to attract a new array of students looking to focus in art, which will add a great new dimension to the McClatchy community. McClatchy prides itself on its existing specialized programs and the school’s reputation for that is not dying just yet. Our teachers work very hard not only to be good teachers, but to also make McClatchy a place where students can be part of a distinguished community.

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