Art in our Community

Bianca Reznic, Managing Editor

From the great and timeless works of Caravaggio to the modern genius of Anthony Waichulis, all the way to the up and coming student artists – the creation of art is one of endless possibilities. One needn’t look far in Commack to find art as it can be seen everywhere from the walls of the high school to the stunning displays of creative work in the lobby. 

The impacts of art upon both the community and the individual are vast and transcend the confines of the classroom. 

“We always try to talk about with the kids is you’re not just going to do artwork in my class and it’s going to go in a drawer somewhere, it’s [going to] go under the bed or hang up on the refrigerator. What we try to do here in all of our classes is we try to make art a valuable part of your life. So, we try to get it out there so everyone can see it – it’s not just in the school […] we’re trying to get all the different cultures and everybody involved, not just forty two minutes, twenty nine kids in the class. We’re trying to do more than that,” said art teacher Francis Musto. 

Musto also highlights the benefits of art on students as individuals. 

“Current research [shows that] students [who] take a sequence in art [such as] four classes of art in high school. The research says that they will score 92 points higher on their SATs. So that’s how it impacts each individual student […] what taking a sequence of art classes does is it allows the student to think differently. We have left and right brains. In art classes we think with our right brain, in more analytical classes we think with our left brain. It makes us solve problems creatively. It’s really interesting because you don’t think linearly like a+b=c [or] 1+2=3. you think a little more outside the box, you solve problems in a creative manner. And I think that’s where [art] really does impact each individual child because it really gets them, not to necessarily be great at art but to think differently, to see the world differently,” said Musto.  

The impact of art and the influence of art teachers in the community is immense. 

“It makes me feel more open minded [and] allows me to feel more creative. The teachers here are absolutely wonderful. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met. And it’s really opened up a lot of opportunities for me such as being placed in art shows and being able to show my work off,” said junior Sabrina G. 

Art programs also provide the opportunity for discovering new and more diverse perspectives. Art student Elianah F also reflects on her experiences with art in Commack. 

“The art department is very small and the teachers are very close and I like that most about our art department. I love the fact that we have so many different kinds of art materials and different types of arts. I think it gives people a way to express not only how they feel but how they view the world,” said junior Elianah F.

Art can also have a significant impact on teachers as well as students.

“I have a lot of different types of students, I have special needs students, I have high achieving students, I have all these students. They finished up the projects and I [went] to take attendance, [then paused for a moment and said] I love my job! It was one of [those] moments […] These kids were learning, they were cutting things out, they were painting, they were involved, they were doing group work together which teaches them when they graduate it teaches them to work together with other people. […] It was fantastic. And that’s what I try to do as a teacher, I try to not only inspire my kids but I want to be inspired because that makes me a better teacher. That’s what it’s all about. There are careers in art: there’s education, there’s graphic design, there’s photography. There’s so many different avenues these kids could go. And our job as teachers – get them in the right direction,” said Musto.  

Students unsure of whether or not to get involved or participate in art activities should feel encouraged.  

“Absolutely give it a try. There are so many diverse classes here to take whether it be digital, painting, drawing, even mixed media. I would say to absolutely dive right in and to really just give the arts here an opportunity,” said Sabrina G.  

As we move onto bright futures as adults and functioning members of society, it is important for us to keep the lessons and skills we learn both inside and out of the classroom. Perhaps we may dabble in the field of art one day before dismissing it too quickly. 

“It is never too late to take an art class,” said Musto.🔳