Teacher and students at a Fordham school take a unique approach to art during COVID-19

Bryan Galdamez - he is doing a floral abstract piece in pastels
Photo courtesy Larry Minetti

For more than 25 years, Larry Minetti has been teaching art. But the Pelham Parkway resident has never had to do it virtually until now.

Fortunately, the lifelong Bronxite is allowing his students to be creative and use unique ways to go about their work. From utilizing things like makeup, lipstick and clothing, their out-of-the-box thinking has impressed him.

Minetti has taught art for 26 years and is in his second year at Fordham Leadership Academy at 500 East Fordham Rd.

“It’s been a challenge,” Minetti said. “You’ve never seen anything like it. You can’t assume that these kids have certain materials. It’s not like we’re in my classroom.”

 

He explained since they are not in school, kids having been doing assignments with items they find in their home.

They have used watercolors to make a self portrait and other kids used lipstick and makeup. In the next few weeks the teens will learn about fonts and lettering.

The youngsters were also tasked with finding objects and clothing that would represent a famous piece of art. One student used peanut butter, salad dressing and milk cartons to depict a Van Gogh painting.

“I was totally blown away,” Minetti said. “This is so new I didn’t know what to expect. I was both impressed and proud that they went above and beyond.”

According to Minetti, the majority of the students have told him learning art virtually is fun because it’s tough to keep up with the core classes.

“Kids have said it’s relaxing and therapeutic,” he said.

With two teenage daughters of his own, he realized that being away from their friends and classmates is a challenge. Not only is it difficult to learn, but it’s taking a toll on them emotionally, he shared.

In addition to teaching, he has made sure to check in on their well-being.

“I’m trying to keep their spirits up,” he explained. “Besides teaching them I’m trying to make them happy. It doesn’t have to be all happy about teaching at the moment.”

The consensus amongst the students is that they want to return to school. They understand what is going on but they have been stuck at home for too long, Minetti said. Furthermore, many are sad that prom and graduation may be axed.

“They’re just really upset,” he stated. “We take a lot for granted. We’re at the school so much we’re family.

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