In the beginning, the first class you are required to take is Art Exploration. All three of the instructors teach this class. In this class, the goal is to learn basic drawing skills, art values/principles, and terminology. Art Expo, for short, is the perfect class for underclassmen to take because it is a good opportunity for the teachers to introduce themselves and make early relationships with their students. All three of the art teachers are good at entertaining their class and making them comfortable in the department. This often leads to students taking more art classes later on.
2-Dimensional Art is one of the many classes one can take after art exploration, this is also one of Mr. Laizure’s more popular classes. This class gives Mr. Laizure the opportunity to teach about drawing and 2D art. One of Mr. Laizure’s students, Alex Correa, was quoted saying, “Mr. Laizure is the only art teacher I’ve had but he seems chill, he knows what he’s talking about and loves telling funny stories.” In this class, Mr. Laizure helps students make their flat drawing look incredibly realistic and 3-dimensional. Students also learn how to draw with multiple materials rather than just a normal pencil. They draw with charcoal, colored pencil, and all sorts of different utensils. As one of the first assignments of the year, Mr. Laizure has his students simply copy a picture that he provides, but instead, they have to draw it upside down. The meaning behind this is teaching kids to draw what they see rather than drawing what they think they see, which is a focal point throughout the semester. By the end of the year, students are composing intelligent masterpieces after being transformed from a beginning sketch artist.
Taking an art class at Urbandale is so much more than just learning how to draw. This section of the school is run by the powerful minds of Mr. Kimble, Mr. Laizure, and Mr. Pederson. These teachers provide the tools and information essential to create art for the entire school to see. Taking an art class opens students up to a world filled with incredible people and an atmosphere that is hard to stay away from.
Another available class to take in the Art Department is Photography I. This is Mr. Pederson’s specialty. A lot of students go into this class not knowing anything about photography, but Mr. Pederson quickly teaches them how to take pictures, picture techniques, and information about cameras. As part of the class, all students are able to go on a field trip during the school day to take pictures of downtown Des Moines. Students have the opportunity to take pictures at West End Architectural Salvage, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and anywhere downtown the students want to go. Mr. Pederson often uncovers a hidden passion for photography in some of his students. Since some people may not have very much opportunity to use a camera, Mr. Pederson does a great job with helping people learn about photography. Because of Mr. Pederson’s genuinity and flexibility within his class, Photography I is often a favorite with students.
One of Mr. Kimble’s many classes he instructs is 3-Dimensional Art. His creative, goofy personality makes this class popular within the students. One of the things to look forward to is listening to his opinionated ideas about school, Star Wars, and many other odd topics. Throughout the year, Mr. Kimble teaches his classes all sorts of ways to make sculptures and 3D pieces with different materials. Some of the projects kids get to make are wire trees, paper mache birds, and oversized character heads. This is also the class where students have the opportunity to have their project manufactured to full size by a local business and placed in the city of Urbandale. At the end of the semester, board members who are part of the city of Urbandale vote for a sculpture made by a student to decide which one Mr. Kimble and Quality Manufacturing Corporation (a manufacturing company that fabricates large sculptures) bring to life. Once it’s made, some popular places it can be found are at the Urbandale Public Library or at the high school.
The opportunities are endless when it comes to Urbandale’s Art Department. The three teachers all share a common goal of not only improving their students art skills, but bettering them as people. Urbandale is glad to have such impactful people running the Art Department at the high school.