Central paints a picture of the new art academy

Lily Fitzpatrick and Cassidi Martin paint during a drawing and painting class. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

BERKELEY — In a highly competitive economy, school districts want to give their children every opportunity to succeed.

Often this is represented in college-level university courses or science programs to keep up with rapidly changing technology.

You don’t usually see it in art.

Central Regional High School will open an art academy beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. This will be a four-year program that will give students a head start and a solid foundation to study the arts after graduation.

Traditional art classes teach a handful of disciplines throughout an academic year. A student may have drawing, papier-mache and sculpture in different sections of the year, said Lynn Fisher, an art teacher at Central. The art academy will spend four years showing students a wider range of skills and allowing them to delve deeper into each one.

Students will still follow the normal curriculum, such as four years of English and physical education. But there will also be classes like Drawing and Painting 2, Studio Arts AP, and Art History/Women in the Arts.

Photo by Chris Lundy

Another boost is that AP classes earn credit at Ocean County College.

Art schools are really competitive, Fisher said, describing a school that takes in only a handful of new students a year.

“Whether it’s product design, advertising, game design, or even interior design, you need the fundamentals,” she said. “You must be able to express your ideas.”

To be considered for the program, you must:

  • Be an incoming freshman with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Have 3-5 examples of original work in your portfolio. These works can be on any support. They will be presented to an interview panel of teachers from the Academy of Arts. You must be able to discuss your work and your interest in the arts
  • Grades for all classes must remain in good standing throughout the four years

The Art Academy joins the Academy of Digital Media and the Academy of Humanities.

Abby Delucia working on an oil pastel of an angel. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

“Kids always give 100%, so we want to see them go far,” said art teacher Jen Cerami.

With the art academy, students will be able to acquire a good foundation in a number of techniques, she said. Otherwise, they might only try a particular skill for the first time when they are already in art school. “If the first time they see him is in college, they might get discouraged.”

While currently enrolled seniors and juniors are sad that they weren’t able to be a part of it, there is already some excitement with the upcoming classes. “It’s super beneficial for any student who wants to make art their career or even their passion,” she said.

Beautiful artwork finished by the students of Central Regional High School. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

Mildred D. Field