By Sam Broghammer and Cassy Wolker
There is a new face on campus at North High and it does not belong to a student or a teacher. Joining North High for the first semester is resident artist, Mel Kolstad.
Brought to North at the request of Mr. Frank Juarez, Kolstad will help to further incorporate art into the curriculum, not just in art classes, but spanning throughout various departments. Teachers are able to reach out to Kolstad for her expertise during projects or making artistic connections to a current subject.
“Mr. Juarez asked me [to come to North] and I said yes because it seemed like an amazing opportunity,” Kolstad said. She was drawn to the artist in residence program through North because she likes working with students in junior high and high school. “I think [students] have a lot to say about the world and how you see it.”
While in the classroom, Kolstad helps students understand connections between art and the topic they are studying by leading art based discussions or creating visual examples.
“It’s a lot more fun to illustrate a point with art,” she said. “If you have a picture or diagram to show you, it’ll drive the point home faster than just reading in a textbook.”
In addition to teaching, while here Kolstad will create at least 16 pieces to be displayed in the second floor gallery.
“It’s been the hardest show I’ve ever done because I’m pushing mediums that I’ve never done before,” Kolstad said.
While taking a leap out of her comfort zone and exploring other mediums such as paint, Kolstad always returns to her favorite, relief printmaking. Printmaking involves the carving away of a block, then coating the leftover product in ink before printing the image on paper. The process of relief printmaking is a meditative one for Kolstad, who feels relaxed as she carves into the blocks.
Since incorporating Kolstad as the resident artist at North High, Juarez has been pleased with how the staff and students have responded to infusing art into the daily curriculum. Looking forward to the end of the semester, a second local artist will get the opportunity to fill the resident artist position here at North.