Art has long been an outlet for creativity and a way to express emotions. Three students in Dawn Rossbach’s art classes at Menahga High School share in their own words why art is important to them and how it helps them communicate their feelings, express themselves, and cope with challenging situations including the pandemic.

Art speaks for itself

Clara Buchner is a junior.

Art has been the thing I’m most passionate about ever since I was capable of picking up a pencil. Visual arts, like drawing and painting, are what I’ve been most involved in, but I’ve also been branching out into theater and music.

For me, art is a powerful tool for communication and self expression. Through art, I can show to the world the parts of myself that I don’t know how to express otherwise. The past several years of my life have proved increasingly difficult, 2020 especially so. My world has changed and my future has shifted. I’ve lost people I didn’t expect to lose and nearly lost myself as well.

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Watching the whole world begin to follow in the steps of my own personal chaos left me with a lot of feelings that I couldn’t quite look in the eyes. Not just things I don’t feel comfortable telling others, but things that I don’t fully understand myself. With art, I can give these abstract thoughts and feelings a concrete shape. Hunched over a sketchbook or writing a song on my ukulele are the times when I found myself again. The buried feelings and shared ideas that live within us are sometimes translated better through a creative medium than through ordinary words or conversation. You don’t have to find the perfect words to express things – art speaks for itself.

Creating a world through art

Abby Crook is in ninth grade.

I enjoy painting, drawing, and occasionally pottery. It helps me relax. When I am creating art, I sort of go into my own little world, and forget about other things that are going on. When I create something, I have freedom to do what I want with it. I can create my own little world if I'd like. Art is so important to me, especially right now with all the COVID-19 stuff going on. Art helps me get my mind off of things. I can channel all my feelings into what I am creating, and it lifts a lot of weight off of my shoulders. It has really helped me during these hard times. Art is such a truly amazing thing.

Drawing feelings to cope with stress

Aribella Kinnunen is a ninth grader.

I enjoy a lot of drawing and painting. During quarantine, I got better at drawing and painting because of how much I did it. I drew a whole beach and I painted pineapples and all sorts of other things. I helped a lot with my stress over the whole COVID-19 when it was new and we weren't allowed to leave our houses. It was something to do when you were bored or just to get your mind off things. I loved to draw how I was feeling everyday, I would draw my feelings as characters. Without art I think that the world would be pretty boring because art is on clothing, walls, all over, and sometimes we don't even notice it. It's really a big part of our lives and we don't even notice it all the time. I think art is just an amazing way to cope with things like if you're going through a hard time or because of stress. You can just let it all out on a piece of paper, either in black and white or even in color. I think that art has really helped me get through 2020 due to being in the house forever!