Exploring A Liberal Arts Curriculum Integrated With The Trades
To most when they hear the word “art” they think of drawings, paintings, and works hung in a gallery, but last Tuesday, students from Mrs. Seitz’s Art 2 and AP classes, Mrs. Siegwald’s Graphic Design class, as well as members of the Architecture & Engineering Club, visited the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA) to see that art expands to more than just what someone can put onto paper.
Located in downtown Charleston, ACBA is a liberal arts college that offers an Associate of Applied Sciences in the Building Arts as well as a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in the Building Arts. What makes this stand out from a typical college is that each degree has a "craft specialization" where students select an area to focus.
The Associate program offers four areas: Blacksmithing, Heritage Masonry & Stone Carving, Plaster, and Wood; while the Bachelor program offers six areas: Architectural Carpentry, Blacksmithing, Classical Architecture & Design, Heritage Masonry & Stone Carving, Plaster, and Timber Framing. “Dying arts” that hold a special niche in the world of historical preservation.
But how did PCA students find this hidden treasure to explore? Academic Counselor, Sally Pascutti, can take the credit.
“ACBA offers such a unique opportunity to earn a Bachelor's degree and a journeyman level master craft,” explained Pascutti. “For creative, tactile students, it is a practical way to express creativity in a physical environment.”
Art teacher NIcole Seitz and Kylie Siegwald were just as excited as the students. “I want to go there and take classes!” Siegwald exclaimed.
Nicole Seitz agreed and added that she was most impressed by the fact that students, “were doing traditional building arts that you find in the Bible, like in 1 Chronicles when they are building the temple.”
The teachers weren’t the only ones who were excited about the tour, the school and its majors also left an impression on the students. ”I really liked seeing the section where they welded the metal,” explained junior Grayson Campbell. “I thought it was really fascinating that you can take a solid and get it hot enough to create anything you want.”
“It was amazing to see this is happening in our own town,” said Seitz and the students agreed.
The ACBA is truly a hidden gem in our historical, Holy City.