Letter to the Editor

Open Forum

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Another idea

Dear Editor,

While we are working on the Grand Idea of a transportation system which would stretch from Mexico, through the central United States, into Canada and across the Bering Strait into the Asian continent, let's propose another Grand Idea of building a highway from Hayes Center east to Highway 83!

Bill Arnett


Add more art

Dear Editor,

I agree with former MHS high school art instructor, Mr. Steinke. We need to keep the art programs in our schools and I will go one farther by saying we need art instructors at the elementary level, also. At the rate we are going, art will just disappear from the curriculum, especially if we were to ever lose the only art teacher we now have ... so you can never retire, Mr. Clapp!

We have had four daughters who all took art classes while at M.H.S. On a trip to Columbia, S.C., a few years back, I was just amazed at the artwork of Blue Sky, especially his 50-foot high mural called "Tunnelvision" but then I seen the work of the elementary students in that city.

While I'm sure his large works of art must be an inspiration to aspiring artists, young and old alike, these kids are introduced to art at an early age and the quality of work was like that of high school students.

The whole east coast is full of artisians and the area is saturated with art lovers. Art is a very competitive field and much like an NFL hopeful ... only the best can make a really good living in this field.

Our oldest daughter is one of the lucky ones and is doing pretty well as a self-employed artist and yet doing something that is her passion. She has used her own creative talent as well as skills learned in shop class and art classes at MHS and also at the University of Nebraska Lincoln where she received her fine arts degree with an emphasis on sculpture.

She can do almost any form of art, but mainly is a potter who also specializes in tiled frames and mirrors and has built all her own show booths as well.

She is constantly coming up with fresh new ideas/creations and that is what she as an artist has to do to be successful.

I knew she would be an artist from almost the day she was born and always wished McCook would have offered art at the elementary level.

I will say the teachers do a great job incorporating art into their classes. This is evident through the papers they always brought home as well as the halls that were lined with their creations during the school year.

Our daughter also entered and won a lot of the art/coloring contests and that did a lot to help her believe in and encourage her talent. I always bought copy paper by the ream as well as plenty of crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. I have always encouraged her and she has always known I'm her No.1 fan.

All of this helps a child who has the gift of art but it still doesn't take the place of an art instructor.

We are lucky that we have the McCook Art Guild and Mr. Steinke trying to keep the art programs afloat in McCook. I urge the school board to reconsider their decision to not replace Mr. Steinke.

We need more art ... not less. Our daughter made the right career move when she decided to go to North Carolina because the type of art she does is in such high demand in that area. (She might be a starving artist had she stayed here and this can be true with other occupations as well.)

There are a lot of other opportunities for art careers right here in Nebraska in the education, printing, advertising and newspaper industries to name just a few. Art is a great class to take even if you aren't going to make it a career.

I was so inspired by how easy and fun it looked when my daughter worked on the pottery wheel that I decided to take a pottery class at the college. I found that I was not very good at the wheel but I was good at the handbuilding and I really did enjoy and look forward to the classes.

Art belongs in our curriculum and complements the other classes by opening the mind while it expands and also stimulates. You see art in some form everyday if you stop to think about it.

We know that from ancient cave drawings to children's pin-up refrigerator artwork that Art truly is the universal language of our planet. I know there are others from MHS who went on to have successful careers in art.

Maybe it would help for them as well as for former students to write Open Forum and tell us what you are doing in your career and your opinions on keeping or expanding art classes in the McCook School System.


Sheila Berls


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