As digital design becomes a more and more prevalent part of our society, Providence School is developing programs to help students interact with that burgeoning industry. This fall, the Christian college preparatory school’s faculty members James Daly and Maxwell Beers launched Providence Studio, which is equipping students to be competent and ethical content creators.
The response so far has been overwhelming, reported Daly and Beers. “Classes are full, and students are enthusiastic!” they wrote. “The Studio opens doors of opportunity and growth for students interested in a wide variety of fields, from photojournalism to filmmaking and graphic design.”
The Providence Studio offer three academic tracks: Fine Arts, Digital Media, and a Fine Arts/Digital Media hybrid. The “Fine Arts” track is built upon the classical and academic models of art education. “I didn’t even realize the potential I had, or that I was that good at drawing, until Mr. Daly helped bring it out,” said sophomore Liza Coffin. “I am so excited to see how much more I will grow in my artistic expression with him teaching me through my time in the studio.”
The “Digital Media” track includes working with Photoshop and learning to ethically create and edit images in a world where image manipulation is prolific. “We’ve been talking about how to use our technology responsibly and carefully and still effectively,” said senior Cameron Bleeker.
It also includes an introduction to the skills and techniques of contemporary photojournalism. “I get to write articles as well as do the artistic elements, so it’s really combining a bunch of different classes that I enjoy,” said senior Alena Zeni.
There’s also an introduction to the film and video production process. “I want to be a film major, so I feel like I can use what I’m learning here in the studio to direct my choices and my career,” said senior Eric Smith.
Some of the “Hybrid” projects include: digital painting alongside classical painting; taking the techniques of drawing with pencil and applying them in the Adobe Illustrator application on a Wacom digital tablet; and starting with an 18th-century etching, students draw in pencil, then take creative liberties to paint, scan, trace in Illustrator, and make a vector-based design that can then be 3D printed.
“Ultimately, the goal for our students is to build a broad, foundational skill set that they can take into any vocation and across all fields,” explained the teachers. “The ability to translate abstract concepts to the canvas or screen is no easy task; however, it is essential, even expected, in both expressions of media. As a result, each track emphasizes skill-based methods tailored to equip students to move into whichever field students choose.”
What excites them the most about the Providence Studio is that “the students who go through the program will become influencers, storytellers, and content creators with a strong desire for integrity and truth to guide the work they create.”