Students in Vail immersed in the arts |

Students in Vail immersed in the arts

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Colorado
HL VMS Week of Arts 3 DT 5-7-08

In a classroom filled with middle-schoolers, students hands were covered with brown clay, smiles stretched across their faces. Working as a team, this collection of Vail Mountain School pupils and possible future artists shaped and molded their ideas from what was once a lump of clay into a mushroom fantasy land.

I thought this one was the most fun, said eighth-grader Emily Bandoni of the ceramics class. Bandoni helped make the mushroom village. Even though she wasnt sure how to fully describe the clay creation, she said it was based on the students favorite video games and fairy tales.Another kid in the class, Craig Tietbohl, wasnt a big fan of working with clay, but agreed that the project he helped create was at least interesting.Its fun to make crazy things with your imagination, Tietbohl said.Eventually their clay piece will find its way to the schools kiln to be fired and then painted.

This ceramics class was part of Vail Mountain Schools annual Week of the Arts during which students had the chance to learn from many different professional artists working with different mediums.

Everything from music to painting and sketching was taught to students over the course of the day on Wednesday, the most important and intensive day of the week-long event for the students, according to Emily Tamberino, the schools director of communications. Every student grades kindergarten through 12 could get their hands dirty in clay, their faces smudged with paint or just sit and listen to some Celtic music by the Boulder-based band Peace & Love & Jigs & Reels.

Their work is on display and the whole school can see it and the time is for that and focused on that rather than on other things, said Michelle Gurnee, an art teacher at VMS for the past 10 years.There was a festival feel in the air of the school on Wednesday. Student art was proudly displayed in every part of the building. The atmosphere was relaxed and it was easy to see that the teachers and students were enjoying themselves as the day wore on.

Nicole von Tempske, chair of the VMS art department, is thrilled with the fact that the school celebrates the arts and encourages kids to better understand them.We have such a diverse program, and we have teachers that offer so many different mediums and so students have an opportunity to try different things, she said.High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

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