Growing Pains

New Storage Space Aims to Reduce Art Clutter

Rising student population numbers has led to an increase of students taking art this year, as well as the addition of new storage spaces on the fourth and fifth floors in the crevices by the southern central stairwell.

There was a “little bit of an increase,” says Assistant Principal Eric Fay. “It looks like our average is… 31 students in each art class.”

“I have 36 students in my ceramics class,” adds Karen Stolzenberg, chair of the art department.

Fay notes that the increase of the total population of the school has grown as well, possibly contributing to the reasons why more students may want to do art. “Our overall enrollment increased… by roughly 200 kids, actually a little bit more.”

The reasons why students take art, however, completely range.

Some students prefer to take art to fulfil the Chicago Public Schools graduation requirement that all students must take one visual arts credit before they graduate. “I’m taking art to get my credits done, if I’m being honest,” says Lane Kizziah ‘18.

Others argue that students take art because of interest in arts or because of the quality of the visual arts programs at Jones.

“I would say it’s because of the quality of the program, there’s a lot of really artistic kids, and our art teachers really put in that extra effort,” says Fay. “I think it’s the effort that the teachers put into the lessons and how interesting they make it. Every lesson I’ve seen, for the art classes, has been so much more than just ‘let’s paint something’, it always had some deeper context or meaningful idea to it.”

Principal P. Joseph Powers thinks that students are attracted to taking art at Jones because “we offer such a rich curriculum in the visual arts, now we’ve got the ceramics, we’ve added since we moved into this building, metalsmithing has been able to expand, if I’m not mistaken, a lot more two and three dimensional arts, and the digital arts as well. Space has given us opportunity, the number of students has given us opportunity, and also CPS made the fine arts credit flexible, so that students could take a lot of different things.”

Meanwhile, according to Stolzenberg, the new storage rooms were built because “there’s not enough room at the tables, we can’t work as large as we would normally want to work, and that’s why we had to build those storage rooms.”

“A lot of projects and materials take up space, so we found that we were storing things in what should have been instructional space… Those two spaces on the fourth and fifth floor had almost turned into de facto storage spaces…  We made it more formal and gave it to the art department,” adds Powers.

The cost of these new spaces were not deducted from the art department. “We paid for the construction out of our internal accounts, in other words, income, rentals, things like that… It was actually remarkably inexpensive. The contractor that we worked with had worked with us before on small projects like that; quick, high quality and reasonable cost,” says Powers.

While there has been no vocal student opposition to the new closets, Fay says that “I heard some noises coming from one of the closets, and I opened the door, and there were 6 kids packed in there, just hanging out during Ac Lab, and it was kind of funny.”