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The student news site of Tracy High School

Scholar & Athlete

The student news site of Tracy High School

Scholar & Athlete

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SPOTLIGHT: Smutny (Art)


Catherine Smutny, an Art teacher at Tracy High School, was born in Michigan and grew up in Sacramento. Smutny has three kids and attended Sacramento State where she planned to study child development in hopes of becoming an elementary school teacher. This led her to find her love for art.

“To become an art teacher, you need to spend four years to get your bachelor’s and one to one and a half years for teaching credentials,” Smutny stated.

She has been a teacher at Tracy High School for 18 years and manages her classroom by constantly encouraging her students to participate.

Smutny mentioned the new advancements happening within the art department, such as the new kiln to glaze clay projects. There is also a course proposal for a graphic design class next school year that Smutny and the art students are hoping to be approved for.

“Art is important because it accesses a different part of your brain and allows you to be expressive in your own way and it really affects everything from clothes to the buildings you walk in,” Smutny said.

Smutny’s teaching of philosophy consists of being more student centered, allowing them to make their own creative decisions. Smutny is happily teaching at Tracy High and reveals art jobs are hard to come across.

“Taking art in school is important because it’s innately human. Art has been used and created by humans longer than written language or math. It allows children and teens to tap into the parts of the brain that often gets overlooked,” Smutny said.

“I think a good artist is one that is observant, noticing the little things that others don’t. A good artist also has a reason for making art, using it to express things that words can’t,” Smutny explained.

Smutny’s favorite type of art to teach is perspective pieces using art one, value, forms, and shading to make her pieces appear in 3D. Her personal favorite artist is Eva Hesse, who worked in the 1970’s and a lot of her pieces are textured. Smutny has always been naturally good at art and happily incorporates it into her everyday life.

“The best part of teaching art is seeing students express themselves and really put themselves into their art,” Smutny closed. “That is art making and it’s okay if most of my students won’t become artists. I just want them to learn that making art that is authentic to them is most important. Who cares if no one buys it or it doesn’t hang in a gallery. It’s theirs and that’s what makes it art.”

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About the Contributor
Annalise Bell, A&E Lead
Annalise Julia Bell is a 17-year-old senior at Tracy high school. She was born in Daly City, California on August 14th and has lived in Tracy most of her life. She has a five-year-old sister. Bell currently lives with her grandparents. Bell loves animals and has two cats. Ever since Bell was little, she’s thought about being a writer, author or journalist. It’s something she hopes to do in her future, but she’s not fully decided. She might want to go into psychology or social work to help others with things she has struggled with in her own life. She wanted to try journalism, however, because she loves to write. This is Bell’s first year in journalism. She has been to about seven different schools growing up and has been at Tracy high for three years. She plans on going to a junior college first. Bell has not been out of the state of California but loves going to the Bay. She took a Muay Thai class for two years. 

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