For Winter Sports School students, art is a beautiful thing | ParkRecord.com

For Winter Sports School students, art is a beautiful thing

They say their art classes provide an important creative outlet

Sam Macuga, left, and Max Dalton are two of the Winter Sports Schools art students. They say their art classes helped them get through the stress of training in their sports while taking rigorous course loads.

Between training for her sport and homework, Max Dalton doesn't have a lot of down time to pursue one of her biggest passions: art.

Fortunately for Dalton, a junior at the Winter Sports School, she was able to take a pair of art classes this school year, printmaking and watercolor painting, to satiate her creative thirst.

"I had art for, like, three hours a day so I was pretty set," she said with a laugh.

For Dalton and her classmates, art classes at the Winter Sports School are much more than what meets the eye. They are a crucial creative outlet for teens dealing with the unique pressure of the school, providing a much-needed respite from the grind of rigorous course loads and a strenuous athletic schedule.

Sam Macuga, for instance, relished the chance to spend a chunk of each day in her printmaking class.

"It's nice to have a break," she said. "My season ends right before school starts, so it feels like there's no break in between. It's just training and competitions, then you have to come to school and do all this work. But we have art, and you get to relax a little. It's a nice lull in all the chaos."

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Dalton agreed, but added that she was able to bring the creativity her art classes stimulated to different areas of her life and her other classes, as well, making her a more well-rounded student. Eric Christiansen, the school's art teacher, was quick to point out that he wasn't surprised because participating in art has been shown to boost academic achievement in other subjects.

"I hadn't taken art in a couple years before coming here this year," she said. "You're just being more creative and I feel like you just generate more ideas. Even with math, which our class is pretty hard, it helps being able to think differently. Different parts of your brain are firing."

After months of class and tapping into their creativity, the Winter Sports School's art students are readying to show off their best work at an annual art show for parents and friends August 1. The event is not open to the general public, but it's a chance to reflect on the progress they made as artists — Christiansen said many of his students discover their talent for the first time — and to compare their work with that of their classmates.

Macuga said she and her classmates are eager for the show. It won't provide the same feeling as nailing a ski run to win a first-place trophy, but it'll be a rush all the same.

"It's my art and it'll be up there on the wall," she said. "It's like, 'Look what I've done!'"