The importance and benefits of mandatory art credit in high school


Claire Clements

Coppell High School junior Varsha Chintapenta works on drawing images from her phone in Michelle Hauske’s AP Drawing class. This class involves developing different skills such as drawing and creativity.

Nolan Sanders, Staff Writer

It is required of all students attending high school in the state of Texas to complete one year of a fine arts credit in order to graduate.


Those who do not enjoy art do not particularly care for this rule but comply anyway so that they may be eligible to receive their diploma. What these students may not see is that the art classes offered at CHS can actually be quite valuable, in a multitude of ways.


Art classes are a great place to learn skills such as attention to detail, creativity and problem-solving skills, which are all things that are useful in daily life after completing high school.


“The arts are important for all facets of life,” CHS art teacher Cameron Tiede said. “It doesn’t matter where you go or do, if you look at the world today and look at how much we’re actually influenced by art. People don’t realize this, but from music to TV to movies, you can’t get away from [art].”


There are not many places in high school in which one can express the same sort of creativity that one can express in an art class and because of this, many students at CHS are eager to enroll in these classes. But to those who do not care for artistic creativity, it can seem like an added annoyance. There are, however, many kinds of art classes offered at CHS that are sure to appeal to any sort of high school student.


The fine arts classes available in CHS include photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, graphic design, digital arts media, theater, choir, band and art history. Because of this wide range of classes, any student who is taking their fine arts class in order to receive credit is sure to find a course that they would enjoy.


I was one of the students who took their fine arts class in my freshman year, just to get it out of the way. Although at first I thought I would not enjoy Art I, I ended up having a lot of fun. During the course, we drew, painted and sculpted. Throughout the final six weeks of the year, we spent our time in class forming a mug made out of clay. After having gone through the kiln, the result was nothing spectacular and later, the whole thing began to deteriorate.


But there is certainly a sense of accomplishment one gets from completing something like that. Creating an entirely new shape out of only a ball of clay was a fun and rewarding experience and I learned that, against all odds, I had enjoyed myself.


“The students should first and foremost get a basic understanding of [art fundamentals] from these classes,” Tiede said. “In upper level classes, I want the kids to develop critical thinking and creativity skills and to be able to develop their own voice and express their ideas.”


I can sort of understand where students are coming from when I hear them say, “the art credit is pointless” or, “we shouldn’t have to take an art class.” The people who say these things do not believe they will be able to use what they learn in art in a practical manner. But in actuality, these can do a lot of good for a person in ways they might not expect.


“A lot of people underestimate the importance of art,” CHS senior Pooja Cheruku said. “It’s a really good way of expressing your emotions and thoughts and gives you a platform to think in ways other subjects don’t really address. I’ve been drawing since I was a toddler and it’s become one of my favorite things to do. To me, it’s a way to learn new things about the techniques themselves but also about the world.”


Art is a wonderful thing and influences us in many ways we do not even realize. The classes offered at CHS are a way to express creativity and ideas and should certainly not be dreaded by students. One can understand a great deal about themselves just by taking an art class and I encourage my peers to enroll in one in hopes that they enjoy it in the way that I did.