Art teacher Sally Lundburg is passionate about helping young artists grow—as thinkers, communicators, and, above all, people. In her year-long capstone class, Art, Culture, and Community, she expertly guides students through the complexities of producing a significant studio project.
“The capstone experience doesn’t represent a single journey so much as it represents a hundred smaller journeys,” she explains. “Through success or adversity, it’s about having these ‘mini experiences’ that teach you skills and give perspective as you create your work.”
This process is now beautifully illustrated on the class website, which Lundburg launched at the conclusion of this academic year. The site showcases journals, artistic statements, studio shots, and final products from 12 HPA seniors enrolled in the 2020 capstone class.
“Normally, the year would have culminated in an exhibition,” says Lundburg, “but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, campus was closed. Students concluded their projects at home, instead of in the studio. But as often happens in both art and life, the challenges led us to more creative outcomes. I don’t think an exhibition would have expressed the same depth of exploration behind some of these projects. Plus, an exhibition is temporary. This website will grow over time, celebrating each year’s capstone class.”
The site displays an abundance of student creativity. From Natalie, who established a hand-painted clothing service (complete with website and Instagram account) to Reyn, who upcycled surfing materials into custom bodysurfing handboards, these emerging practitioners conceived inventive and thought-provoking art. They exercised analytical skills and helped each other solve problems when challenges arose. Above all, they pursued important questions: What matters most to me? What am I curious about? What do I wish to say to my community?
“I anticipate that this really sets the stage as they move forward to college and their lives,” reflects Lundburg. “They have gained experience with so many skills and approaches—conceiving an idea, working to make it happen, hitting problems, thinking and writing about the experience, and the final product.”
Throughout the capstone journey, Lundburg mentors her students with a mixture of love and grit—along with the practicality born of her own professional art practice. “I think of times in my own life when I had to grapple with a new skill or idea,” she says. “In every project, I encounter all the stages of this capstone class. In fact, we go through capstone experiences all our lives.”