Creating art, whether it be in the form of music, visual, or performance art, is at the very heart of who we are as people of God's creation. Students in fine arts programs at Xavier Middle School work together to become better people through the creation of art. Using both individual and cooperative learning, students are able to learn more about themselves and the world around them as they study in diverse and creative fine arts classes.
Create with a joyful spirit!
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” - Aristotle
Quarter Century in the Art Room
This article was originally featured in X, the Xavier Magazine, Winter 2020 issue with reduced text. Enjoy
the full article below, written by Mrs. Anne Baruth, Xavier Middle School art teacher.
Twenty-five years ago, October 1994, I began teaching at St. Francis Xavier (then St. Joseph) Middle School. It has been a rewarding and fulfilling life journey.
A principal who appreciated my talents hired me. I was blessed with this wonderful freedom to spread my wings and soar!
It was a fast paced ten-hour class day back then. I quickly fell in love with my students and their parents … and the student artwork was exceptional!
At first I focused on creative thinking: projects that would engage the student in original expression,experimentation, exploration, invention, and imagination – this rich foundation for higher level thinking skills. Many, however, lacked the skills to pursue their best ideas.
So, I enhanced the curriculum: more foundational, classic drawing exercises in still life and portraiture. ("Draw what you see, not what you think you see!" was born.) The students blossomed and greater excellence emerged.
One day in 1995, at the ‘old’ building, Pastor John Holly asked if my students would paint murals on the cafeteria walls. They made 14 large murals: the parables of Jesus Christ in other cultural settings.
The president of the Wisconsin Architect’s Association, Jim Gabriel, gave the keynote, my husband played classical guitar as our well-dressed eighth grade artists enjoyed our elegant evening mural celebration.
The next year I was offered a job at my favorite Appleton public school. Financially, it was a very difficult decision. When my husband and I prayed, we figured, “Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel…” What I was doing was an open ministry – the Lord’s work, so I stayed.
About a year later, I had a rough class. When I told them the basic Gospel story using colors, they prayed a simple prayer asking Jesus Christ to forgive their sins; to come into their hearts as Lord and Savior. He set them on a brand new course.
From the start, eighth graders made old-fashioned paper mache sculptures: at least two feet in some direction - yet small enough to get out the art room door. Delightful creations, legendary treasures!
In 1995, I met Holocaust survivor Fela Warschau and invited her to speak to our sixth graders. She came about ten years in a row. Newspaper and television covered her visits. Her story deeply influenced our students.
As the Internet developed, the need to communicate effectively with visual images grew. My seventh grade art students focus on art theory, symbolism, and visual communication. God answered prayer many, many times over the years and we do ‘Scripture of the Hour’ at the close of most class hours.
We’ve had wonderful times working together, creating beautiful, interesting projects in the art room. We've worked hard, stayed late, laughed, danced, rejoiced, gone through good times and hard ...we've learned and grown and we've enjoyed the journey very much.
Twenty-five years – and so much for which to be thankful! To the best of my ability, I aim to serve God at St. Francis Xavier Middle School - as long as He desires. It is the place God clearly called me; the place where I undoubtedly belong.
It’s been among the greatest joys and highest honors of my life to serve these children and their parents for the Lord.
Thank you all so very much; God bless you!
XMS Art Teacher