There are many pieces of art lining the walls of Harwood, but they are all older than the students currently enrolled. “I want the work that’s up in the school to represent the student body currently,” said Krista Verriotto. Verriotto has been at Harwood for seven years, and she’s been teaching for 10 total years. She teaches Art 1, Art 2 and Individualized Art. As of this year, she is also teaching a new class: Art for Harwood. Art for Harwood is a class aimed at replacing old art in school.
“A very consistent thing I heard from students was: ‘We need some new art up in the school,’” explained Verriotto. She also explained she had seen a friend (and former Harwood student) and she mentioned that the friend’s art was still up in the school. Her friend graduated in the 90s. That means some of the art at school is almost 30 years old. All of this inspired her to create Art for Harwood.
Creating a whole new class did take some planning. New classes must be proposed a year before they can be offered to students. During the fall of 2020, Veriotto created a proposal for the class. This included descriptions of the class and what prerequisites might be needed. It is preferred that students take Art 1 and Art 2 before Art for Harwood because it is considered a more advanced class, and very individualized. The class was approved in September of 2020. She got a lot of support from the new administration. When the class was in session, both principals came up to view the art as it was being worked on.
Art for Harwood is very student driven, which Veriotto really wanted. The students worked together to find a common theme and where to put up the new art. They settled on the cafeteria. This was partly because there was one very unpopular painting of a girl biting into a piece of corn and students wanted to replace it.
In a normal year, the class would last a semester. This year, it’s only a quarter long, or about eight weeks at the very end of the school year. Veriotto had originally envisioned kids painting large pieces in groups or even murals on the walls. But, because of the lack of time, adjustments were made. 10 people are in the class. There are two groups of pairs working together and then the rest are working alone. All paintings are in acrylic, except one that’s in pastel.
The theme they settled on was local landscapes and landmarks. That way, students could look on the walls and see familiar, yet beautiful views of Vermont. Some of the places are: The covered bridge in Waitsfield, Warren Falls, Blueberry Lake and Waterbury Reservoir. “They all give each other really nice feedback, that was constructive, kind and supportive,” said Veriotto.
Hayden Adams is a senior and was painting the covered bridge in Waitsfield with his friend, junior Aydn Oshkello. They finished last week. They both enjoyed the creative freedom that the class allowed.
“As someone who’s taken a lot of art classes, that freedom isn’t something that you always encounter, and I enjoy it,” Adams explained. “It’s one thing to paint for yourself, but it’s another to do it for your community. And here at Harwood we have a very tight community.” The paintings will be put up next fall because frames need to be ordered with next year's budget.