Nonnewaug’s Art Program: Where Creativity and Talent Thrive


Neal Waites

Ethan Moshier, who excels in ceramics, works with clay in the art room.

Neal Waites, Features Editor

WOODBURY — The courses that can be taken at Nonnewaug High School vary from the standard humanities and STEM courses to agriculture, fitness, and everything in between; the art program here at Nonnewaug offers opportunities that can’t be found elsewhere. 

“After you take art here at Nonnewaug, you build up a portfolio that could help you to get into various schools, hopefully with good scholarship money,” said Leeza Desjardins, a longtime art teacher at Nonnewaug. “We have a lot of colleges that come in and do presentations, not just art schools, but universities with art programs in it as well.”

Senior Gretchen Davis is one Nonnewaug student who plans on using the school’s art program as a springboard to a future career.

“I want to go into interior design, which isn’t the typical studio art, but I do wanna keep my ability to draw and paint as a hobby; I love doing it,” said Davis. “I love sitting down and being able to express everything I’m feeling through painting, drawing, charcoal [art], and pastel.”

Desjardins said that the wide variety of offerings in Nonnewaug’s program helps students hone in on their interests.

“From there, you explore and see what branches you can [pursue] in art,” Desjardins said. “There’s not only graphic design and web design, but toy design, fashion design, art teacher, and so on.”

According to Desjardins, everything around us is made of art.

“Everything around you was created or designed by an artist,” she said. “From the cars that you’re driving to the sneakers that you’re wearing to your clothing, someone came up with those designs.”

Desjardins went on to say that social media and online websites are great ways to get your art some exposure.

“Social media has been amazing [for exposing your art] — which, by the way, [social media] was essentially made by an artist,” Desjardins said. “There are so many different sights now that you get to upload your work — Pinterest, for example.”

There are many different activities that are taught in the art program.

“At the beginning during Art I, we practiced a lot of little things to help us achieve greater goals, like learning how to start pencil shading, for example, and other critical art skills,” said Ava Parks, an Art II student. “My art has changed so much with just a year of learning, and there’s so much more to learn.”

Another student, Eliana Groben, has taken Art I through Art IV.

 “Art is always gonna be something that I do,” Groben said. “I used to be more focused on trying to make my art look good, but then over time, under Mrs. D’s teaching, I started to think more about the concept of my art, not just about making it look good.” 

Advanced art classes provide a lot of confidence for students. 

“You really develop a lot of confidence as you progress through Art I, II, III, and so on, and as you progress, there’s less instruction and more artistic freedom,” said Rubie Lombardi, an Art III student. “I plan on always keeping art in my life.”

The art program here at Nonnewaug can provide you with many opportunities in life, such as furthering your education, future career, or as a simple and creative hobby. From the award-winning students to the newbies who are just beginning to discover their potential, each has their own place in the art class.