By Xue Fei Lin & Annabelle Swain
The lack of art classes at Brooklyn Tech, a school that specializes in engineering, math and science, has became a controversial issue. While few are concerned with the deficiency of this aspect of the school’s curriculum, its negative impact is becoming obvious as seniors prepare portfolios for art and design colleges.
To obtain the art credits required for graduation, DDP (Design and Drawing for Production) and Digital Electronics have been recorded as “art” classes.
Concerning this school policy, Ishmam Quddus, a freshman who is currently taking DDP, said “It’s sad. I’m not really a fan of engineering.”
As one who often draws in her free time and has taken art classes in middle school, Quddus explained that she once considered Laguardia High School.
“But I didn’t think I was good enough,” Quddus said.
Mike Luppi, a senior in the Architecture Major, is also disappointed in the lack of art classes.
“I haven’t taken an art class since 8th grade and I haven’t gotten a chance to better my skills since,” Luppi said. “I think if I was offered an art class I would have taken it. It really would have helped my portfolio because drawing is what architecture colleges want to see.”
Many students attended the annual Portfolio Day at the Javits Center this year. At this event, high school students who wish to apply to colleges that require a portfolio can get a quick review of their work before submitting their applications. Some students have changed the way they view their work after attending Portfolio Day.
Ilya Tselnik, a senior from the Industrial Design Major, had a discouraging time at the event. Tselnik hopes to study art in college.
“I walked in and everyone had these huge beautiful pieces of art work and I had brought some of my best small pencil sketches,” Tselnik explained. “I visited one school’s table and when they looked at my work you could tell they were thinking ‘Really?’”
Jessica Lin, a senior who is applying to architecture colleges, also attended Portfolio Day this year.
“I felt a bit discouraged,” Lin explained, “There are amazing artists in New York and as I looked at the vast amount of work people carried in, I clung onto my tiny portfolio, losing more and more confidence by the second.”
Lin feels that the architecture program in Tech is strong, but she also thinks the lack of art classes has affected her application and wishes that an art class was offered.
“I would definitely ask to study fine arts because, as an architect, it’s important that you learn how to draw and sketch. This helps you present your ideas in an orderly way,” Lin said.
Jeffrey Zheng, a senior from the Media Major, explained that he does not think Tech’s media students have a disadvantage while applying to art colleges. Having learned Adobe Expert and Mouse as a junior, Zheng believes that the Media Major has provided students with vast opportunities.
“This course actually taught me and a good number of other beginners how to utilize both our artistic and our technical sides to bring forth beautiful designs in photography,” Zheng said. “In fact, after getting my Adobe Certified Associates qualification, I got a job at a charity organization to make posters and flyers that were eventually posted on the SingTao Newspaper.”
Zheng explained that the teachers in the Media Major always give helpful advice to students who wish to apply for an art college.
Although Zheng is now focusing on applying to Pharmacy or Engineering colleges, he believes that he can utilize the skills he learned and pursue a graphic art-related career after getting his initial degree in Medicine or Engineering.
Jack Wong, a senior from the Architecture Major, also feels that he is not at a disadvantage. Architecture Major students take courses in Revit and AutoCAD. “With the programs and model making skills we learn in the major, I feel I am ahead of the game in many cases.” Wong said. Wong also explained that the Architecture teacher, Connie Eng, graded strictly on details and this helped him improve on his sketching skills.
Although most art students agree that the art program here is insufficient, few are dissatisfied with the courses they take. Even in an engineering school like Tech, the arts live on.