Why the Arts are Essential to Education… Alumni Voices

Since our district is on Harvest Break, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to feature some of our past graduates; students who felt a connection with the visual arts and either did or did not pursue that connection in college.   I asked them to give me an update as to what they are doing now and to share a little on why the arts were an essential aspect of their educational experience.


Our first alumna is Kate Lavoie.  Kate graduated from our high school in 2014.  She is currently going to school at EMCC for graphic design.

I make art mostly for me, based on emotions, movies or music I enjoy. I have done a few professional jobs recently, which was a big step for me, trying to  get my name out there. I make any kind of art. Lots of portraits. Landscapes are almost too vague and random for me. People are people, everyone has eyes mouth nose, etc. But then again, they’re all different, right? There is always a constant though, always something I can start with then design around.


I’ve been doing lots of digital work recently, through Photoshop and Illustrator. I attempt to stick with a semi-realistic style, but you won’t see me sitting there painting in wrinkles or pores on a face.  I do pen/pencil drawings as well, mostly unfinished ideas or doodles here and there. And to be honest, if I had more access to it, I’d dabble in sculpture.


Senior year I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the arts.  Both of my older brothers loved art classes, and I did too until maybe 7th grade, then,  something in me told me that it wasn’t worth it, or wasn’t deemed “cool”. So I took a 4 year hiatus on art essentially. Which I can admit has put me a little bit behind in some areas.  To put it simply,  art gave me something to look forward to, and to be proud of. Because you always have your kids who are good at math and English, but if you were good at art, everyone knew.

Portraits of the artists' brothers
Portraits of the artist’s brothers

In English you have the freedom to write a paper, but in a specific format. In science you can can create an experiment, but it has to have a proper result. With art, you have the freedom to make what you want, and if its not working out, start over. You can get your thoughts out without keeping it in a 5 paragraph format, and not be graded on your grammar.

My advice to student artists is; keep the work you hate, and haven’t finished. One of my critiques in college was that my work was too finished. I had nothing in progress or messy. Sure, that may be your style but people enjoy seeing the process, and the thoughts in a piece once in a-while. Don’t always color within the lines.


3 thoughts on “Why the Arts are Essential to Education… Alumni Voices

  1. I loved reading this and knowing your skill is growing. the comment about unfinished work is interesting because my work is mostly unfinished and when i look back on it i can be excited to catch that energy or thought stream. good wishes to you in school and in your creating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much voice in Kate’s message! I could hear her talking in every word she shared! The artwork pictures are fantastic! I would have to say my favorite was the one of Sam and Jake! Thanks for reaching out to Kate and sharing this post with all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely loved this. Kate Lavoie is really a person who understands what it’s about, what it does for people, and why it’s important. This was great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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