Art for the heart


Xixi Song

Students in the art club are making jewelry for the fund-raising event. “It seems like we have a lot of stress, and adding art to alleviate some of that [is a way to] take a break and think more freely,” sophomore Elina Li said.

Xixi Song, Staff Writer

On the whiteboard, in the art gallery, and the walls of the hallways. These are all places in Jefferson where you can find the original artwork of students. Creativity is everywhere, especially in the art room, where you can hear the sound of pencils lightly scratching the layout lines on paper or the soft yet vivid discussions of new ideas.

This school year, there has been a noticeable increase in the use of the art gallery located in the Nobel Commons. From student artwork to Inktober drawings completed in the art club to the carefully framed art images composed from photos taken around the school, the art gallery that is unique to TJ has gone through an unprecedented “expansion.” When walking through the halls, many students noticed something different about the gallery.

“Mrs. Matricardi talked to the people who manage the lights, and it’s automated to turn on or off and so we turned them on more because in past years, when you walked past the art gallery you would notice that the lights are off because there’s nothing in it. This year, I think art [and photography] classes are going to have more to share,” sophomore Elina Li said.

Mrs. Matricardi’s role is one that has not been filled in a long time, and with a full-time teacher comes a rather significant rise in the number of students attracted to this subject. This rise carries a major impact on the National Art Honors Society and the way it functions.

“This year, [the increase in the interest numbers] is because Mrs. Matricardi is really organized, so that’s been helping to structure the system in a way where people can feel their interest and actually come in and participate in an organized fashion,” Li said. “There is more engagement as well, and I think the reason for this is because we’re so surrounded by technology and science, it’s good to take a different direction in high school and be creative.”

Many students fear that taking an art elective is a supposed “waste of time” and end up choosing a class that they find less interesting instead. However, there are many benefits of studying art at Jefferson beyond academic learning.

“I know a lot of people in this school are worried about their GPA, but in the large scheme of things I think you would be better off taking courses that you actually love, versus trying to cram for the extra scores,” Li said. “If you’re thinking about [taking an art elective], and you have a passion for creativity, it’s definitely a safe place to go into, and I think you shouldn’t feel scared.” 

These words of advice not only come from passionate students, but also from Mrs. Matricardi, who discusses her background and what this increase of interest means to her.  

“I certainly hope that the numbers will continue to be strong in the art department,” Mrs. Matricardi said. “It’ll be really interesting to see what happens next year, especially with my ninth and tenth graders, and there could be huge implications if they continue having space for art. I’m coming from [W. T. Woodson High School] where all of my students would take level one, level two, level three, then AP, and I would have them for four years, so I’m hoping that I can have more students that take multiple years.”