Just in time for Miami Art Week and Art Basel, we’re taking a look at the thriving art education programs in Miami-Dade Public Schools. For example, we saw a wide palette of activity in Beth Goldstein’s art class at Miami Springs Senior High School.
“My goal is that they go to college understanding art history, art appreciation, and if I’m really lucky they have such a good time that they make really cool stuff, too,” Goldstein, a veteran teacher, explained.
There’s no shortage of cool stuff here, from abstract encaustic painting to digital art made on a laptop to black and white sketches. Students flex their creative muscles in classes like this in schools all across the District, and it’s this opportunity that motivates them.
“Come to this class is the best part of coming to school because I really love art,” said Karine Rodriguez, a student who recently emigrated from Cuba.
Her classmate, Ethan Torres, said, “I feel like I can focus on that and branch out into a career, I think.”
That’s music to Goldstein’s ears. She takes her students, most of whom are from disadvantaged families, on multiple art-related field trips to show them the possibilities the art world offers. They’re going to Art Basel this week on another horizon-expanding outing.
“There’s a lot of different artists out there, a lot of different types of work and I feel like I can gain a lot of inspiration just walking through and seeing everything,” said student Diana Aponte.
“They may be more inspired to come to school tomorrow by the field trip they took with me today,” Goldstein said.
Her teaching philosophy is to set parameters, but at the same time, to never stifle the creative impulses of her students.
“The kids realize it’s OK to be themselves, it’s OK to make a mistake, it’s OK to explore something different,” Goldstein explained.
The art room is their sanctuary. It’s where artistic kids express themselves and where they feel validation for their talents. Different brush strokes for different folks, and it’s all good.