The Lightning Letter

The Student News Site of James Lawson High School


The Lightning Letter

The Lightning Letter

Visual Art at Lawson


The visual arts are a craft as old as man. Over the years, it has become more than just sculpting and painting. The discipline is just as much a part of modern culture as ever. Visual art can be found in many forms, including film, architecture, video games, and photography. 

James Lawson High School has two excellent visual art teachers: Paul Clement and Briena Harmening who have dedicated their lives to teaching the youth about art.

“I teach art because of my own passion for it, and I wish I had people in my life that had pushed me and supported my creativity when I was younger. Hopefully I can be that for somebody. And I enjoy being around kids,” Harmening said.

JLHS offers Art 1, Art 2, Art 3, Art 4, and AP Art. In these classes, students can simultaneously express themselves while learning about art and how to perfect their craft. 

“We try to prepare students with the basic knowledge of design principles and experience with different mediums to help them decide if they want to go into the arts. We try to expose them to as much as we can. We have them do exercises that are similar in some cases to being in art school,” Harmening said.

In Art 1, students learn different skill sets and basic design principles. As students advance to the upper art classes, they build onto the concepts they learned from Art 1 and grow an understanding of why they make art. AP (Advanced Placement) Art is more self-driven than the other classes. Students come up with their own ideas and topics and are expected to explore their own chosen path. If you are interested in taking AP Art, you will need to be approved by Ms. Harmening or Mr. Clement as the class is meant for those who are serious about art. 

Students are also given opportunities to shine outside of the classroom. Harmening and Clement allow students to show off their art to the public through MNPS and at regional competitions.

“I teach art because of my own passion for it, and I wish I had people in my life that had pushed me and supported my creativity when I was younger and hopefully I can be that for somebody and I enjoy being around kids,” Harmening said.

Both teachers are working artists outside of school and are involved in the art community in Nashville. They like to help students get connections to people who can further help them in their careers. 

“This year the kids have done very well. Several students have been in art shows around Nashville,” Harmening said.

 “I would like to have in-school art shows and galleries. Hopefully next year we can bring in artists from the Bellevue community and bring in guest speakers.”

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About the Contributor
Carla Williams, Staff Writer
Carla Williams is a senior at James Lawson High. When she is not acting with the Lawson Theatre troupe, you can find her passionately writing dark fantasy stories or avidly reading fantasy novels and manga. This is Carla's first year at The Lightning Letter, and she is excited to learn about journalism and to present her short stories to the school community.
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