Students uneasy over lack of art supplies in art department

“Do you know where the [insert art supply here] is?” has always been a common question in the creatively cluttered and disorderly art classrooms. However, recently this phrase has been replaced with “Is there any/enough [insert art supply here] for me to use?” This lack of art supplies is not just a figment of students’ impatient imaginations, it is very real issue that is currently being monitored by the art teachers. “We used to have plenty [of art supplies], but because of the budget cuts every year, we have used up all of our back supply. Now we are forced to order new supplies every few weeks just to get by,” Michel Gude, an art teacher at Ames High, said. The truth of the matter is that many students take art classes for granted. One introduction class will satisfy the fine arts requirement for graduation. “I use it [art class] as a study hall,” an art student said in an anonymous survey. However, there are many other students who are dedicated to the art department. “I need art. Period. It keeps me sane. I go nuts without it,” another art student said. Many students enjoy art because it allows creativity, an outlet for daily stresses, and a chance to learn new techniques. Sadly, all of these students cause a greater strain on the already limited budget. The overflow in the class sizes and a severe reduction of materials keeps those who are actually interested in art and their art classes disappointed without materials. “There has been a huge increase in the number of students taking art classes within the last few years,” Gude said. During the 2002-2003 school year, 777 students were enrolled in an art class. That number jumped to 850 students during the 2004-2005 school year. The budget went from $10,000 in the 2002-2003 school year to $6,784 in the 2004-2005 school year. Art classes are also taken for granted by those who make the rules. Although the school board is not actually using the art supplies, it is preventing a replacement of the supplies and allowing them to be depleted quickly due to overflowing classes. It is unfortunate that the budget of one of the few departments at Ames High School that serves all of the students, ESL, ELP, Regular Education, ELL, ALP, Resource, Special Ed, Honors and AP students all have the opportunity to benefit from art classes, is being diminished.