Art Club Lets Students Expand Creativity Outside the Classroom

An after school club lets middle school artists explore and share their artistic passions.

Twelve-year-old Matt Naluai doesn’t mind being the lone male middle schooler participating in the after-school art club at James Wilson Young Middle School every Tuesday.

In fact, given his grin from the teasing of female artistic friends, he seems to relish in the attention and the obvious fan club he’s got going in the club.

“I’m not intimidated at all,” he says with a big smile, about the female-heavy club membership. “I love coming here because I get to do what I like most, cartooning. It’s really nice and it’s fun,” says the Bayport pre-teen.

While he may be the lone male most times, Naluai’s passion for art and creativity is exactly why the other dozen seventh and eighth grade students join together in the workshop room every Tuesday for an hour.

As school art teachers Karen McGinley and Samantha Sayet explain, the goal is to give budding artists a place to expand artistic horizons and hone artistic skills.

“With this smaller setting we can work on projects that aren’t suited well for the larger school-day art class,” explains McGinley, noting several art club members’ large batik prints. In the regular day class students usually are limited to a much smaller scale of a project.

“I like all art but I get to try different things here,” says Jillian Lessing, a 12-year-old Blue Point club member, adding she thinks she did very well on her first big Batik effort. “It’s one of my favorite pieces and very happy with it.”

For 13-year-old Christina Dunn, of Blue Point, the club, which is sponsored by the South Shore Community Organization, based in Sayville, is also a social event.

“We get to come here with our friends and do something different that we can’t do in class and it’s just fun,” she says. The statement was echoed by Bayport 14-year-old Allyson Rocco and Samar Alam, 13, of Blue Point, as they worked side-by-side diligently on their “lost in space” art projects.

“It’s a chance for all of them to go up and beyond what we’re doing in class,” says McGinley.


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