Appalachian Art Steeped in History at Owen High

Appalachian Art Steeped in History at Owen High
Posted on 02/08/2022
Throughout the area our culture is rich in Appilacian history. At Charles D. Owen High School, art teacher Diane Birken is immersing her students in the culture of Appilacian art. Students are learning new art techniques that have ties to the region. Not only are students creating their own artwork, they are learning the history behind certain styles of art. By: Breanna Hensley
BCS Communications Dept.

Throughout the area our culture is rich in Appalachian history. At Charles D. Owen High School, art teacher Diane Birken is immersing her students in the culture of Appilacian art. Students are learning new art techniques that have ties to the region. Not only are students creating their own artwork, they are learning the history behind certain styles of art.

“The ‘ugly face jugs’ are traditional North Carolina art,” explained Ms. Birken. “Years ago adults would make the mugs. Unlike a typical mug, these have faces on the front. People from the area thought the faces would scare children, and deter them from drinking out of the mug.”

Students delicately rolled out their clay and added the features to their cup. Some of the mugs already had intricate designs.

“I used to do pottery a lot as a kid so I am familiar with how the process works,” said ninth-grader Calia Sampson. “So for me making this mug was not hard to do.”

Ms. Birken says that her students love to create artwork with clay. She enjoys all the unique designs that students create.

“Students really respond well to this kind of medium,” said Ms. Birken. “Students love to make the jugs. They come up with things that are wild, and awesome as the designs come to life.”

Art can be useful in many professions. Tenth-grader Leo Parmenter says art is his gateway to his dream career.

“I am taking this class so I can improve my sketches,” he said. “My goal is to go to college for engineering, so working on my ability to sketch will help in the long run.”

At the end of the school day, students in Ms. Birken’s class can hone in on their imagination, techniques, and talents. For some, it’s their favorite class of the day.

“It’s a relaxing way to end the day,” said Parmenter. “After a long day of classes, it’s great to unwind in the art room”