Forget Muses shoes: Karr TAV students have something better

Forget Muses shoes: Karr TAV students have something better
Posted on 02/26/2021

Karr Talented Visual Arts students explore self-expression as they prepare for the art world

While there wasn’t a chance to catch a decorated shoe from Muses this year, Karr Talented in Art - Visual Arts (TAV) students are getting something better: sneakers that display the work of their classmates.

TAV instructor Paige Valente, or Ms. V as her students call her, wanted to kick off the second semester with something different. The project, called “Steppin’ into 2021,” has students secretly designing and painting shoes for each other.


elephants“This is something we have been talking about wanting to do, and before the holidays, we made it official,” Valente said. “At the end, students who participate will have a pair of shoes designed by someone else in class.”

This is just one of several unique projects that students in TAV have the opportunity to explore.

“We have a theme of Identity for the second semester. We will be looking at different artists’ work and will create a series of works from a curriculum I wrote over the summer exploring how we identify ourselves through matters such as objects, words, geography through different medium like collage and genre such as Afro Futurism,” Valente said.

In the past, students have created art inspired by a song and abstracts detailing what it would be like if elephants ruled the world. They also participate in Muses cup design contest. This year, Senior Karr TAV student Taylor M. had her design chosen. Her work will appear on the Muses cups for their 2022 parade.

“Lately we’ve been looking at other artists’ work for art appreciation and social justice issues,” Valente said. “We’ve also been incorporating some ideas about conceptual art and what that means, and how an idea can be more important than the product itself, because the idea is already the product.”

Taylor MTaylor said her favorite project has been the advertising assignment.

“We were given the objective to create a brand for food advertisement, whether it was fast food, snacks, or soda,” Taylor said. “In this project, I was able to create a label for a soda can and I loved how the colors and the fonts mixed, yet unique in their own style.”          

Valente, who is in her second year of teaching talented visual arts at Karr, said she enjoys giving her students the autonomy to create based on their interests.

“We have Method Monday or Technique Tuesday, depending on when I see them. That’s our technique day where I give them new tools that they might be able to implement in their art,” she said. “The rest of the time, they have ongoing projects that they are working on that’s self-driven and can be indefinite if they are making progress and the project is evolving.”

Soraya ElephantTaylor said she appreciates the creative freedom of TAV

“TAV is helping me understand how the creative process can transition to a higher meaning. In addition, TAV helped me decide to bring my passion into a career,” she said.

Karr sophomore Jamya C said she appreciates TAV projects because they allow her to express emotion in a supportive environment.

“I love how open my TAV program space is. I can literally talk about any given thing and have the support of everyone in the class. Ms. V stays open with us and stays active with us in our everyday life,” she said. “I like Ms. Valente’s energy. No matter how her day is affecting her, she always gives us 110%. She supports every idea, and even if it’s not the best, she makes sure we know how to make it better. Ms. V is, all in all, the best teacher I’ve ever had.”        

Valente, who has a BFA in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design and is currently pursuing an MA in art education from Boston University, said she especially enjoys teaching teens.

Hair“Where I had the opportunity to find and develop myself was during high school through the arts, so it is important to me,” she said. “My motivation and purpose really comes from being able to hopefully share a craft, an avenue, a vision with other people that they might not know is available to them, and tell them that not only is this a wonderful way to express yourself, but also it can lead to a career path in multiple ways.”

Taylor said she appreciates how Ms. Valente connects with her both as a student and an artist.

“Ms. Valente takes the time to give each of us the individual attention we seek in a teacher,” Taylor said. “As an artist, I relate to her ability to feel the emotion of another artist by paying attention to the details in their work. She shares valuable information about some experiences she had in her career, and I find it inspiring.”

TAV student and Karr Sophomore Aleigha F. said the program has supported her throughout her art journey.

“It is helping me grow as an artist and is preparing me for whatever I take on in the future,” she said.

Jamya agreed, adding TAV is impacting her life in more ways than just her art.

“It’s helping me figure ways I could fix everyday life problems. It gives you a way to express how you feel in a positive way,” she said. “TAV helps me connect with people whom I may not connect with on a regular basis. It shows you that everyone has a different perspective that you can learn to understand.”