Eblen Art Class Combines Creativity, Culture

Eblen Art Class Combines Creativity, Culture
Posted on 01/12/2022
At Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School, Ms. Spencer Cobb taught her fifth graders how to explore positive and negative space through the exciting Japanese art composition tool known as Notan (light-dark harmony).By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Even from a young age, Buncombe County Schools students study intriguing art styles from around the world, adding creativity, fine art skills, and cultural learning to their educational experience.

At Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School, Ms. Spencer Cobb taught her fifth graders how to explore positive and negative space through the exciting Japanese art composition tool known as Notan (light-dark harmony). Each student lined up a small, light-colored construction paper against a darker background. They cut shapes out of the light paper then reflected those shapes out of the light rectangle and onto the darker background, creating mirror images in contrasting colors.

“By being able to see both the light and dark shapes, that helps them visually understand the difference between positive and negative space, which is very valuable for art, design, photography, and a lot more. It’s all about understanding multiple perspectives.”

Ms. Cobb and other teachers provide a rigorous course of study for their young artists. Her students develop problem-solving and kinesthetic skills while learning about artists and styles from around the world – from Andy Warhol to Yayoi Kusama. They’ve worked on self-portraits, the science of snowflakes, imaginary creatures, and writing about art.

“The value of art education is to create a well-rounded individual who can leave their comfort zone and find new ways of learning,” she said. “They can work with someone completely different from them, with completely different ideas, and get to a result that is better than them working on something alone.”

Paislee, one of Ms. Cobb’s fifth grade students, said art is her favorite class at Eblen Intermediate.

“Ms. Cobb is really helpful, and I feel like she would do anything for us,” she said. “And she just lets me be so creative. I feel like I can do anything here. There’s no wrong answer.”

Ahmir, another student, said he started sketching in his own time about five years ago. He’s thinking about becoming an artist when he grows up.

“I just really love drawing, and I think Ms. Cobb’s class is really interesting and unique,” he said. “I’m learning a lot.”