Canton chapter of National Art Honor Society begins mural in high school to showcase the arts


Students begin work on a mural connecting the technology wing to the arts wing. Gabbie Marcuccio/The Canton Journal

GABBIE MARCUCCIO, staff writer

Canton High School’s chapter of the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) has begun painting a mural in a first floor hallway of the school. The mural will stretch the entire length of the ramp leading from the technology classrooms up to the art classrooms, and will be produced completely by the student members of NAHS. After years of limited opportunities for artists in Canton, the formation of NAHS and the creation of this mural sends a visible message that art students are here to stay, and are leaving their mark on the school.

The National Art Honor Society provides recognition, opportunities, and scholarships for exceptional students of the visual arts. As a global organization, there are more than 54,000 members worldwide, including members in all 50 US states. According to the National Art Honor Society, the mission of NAHS is to champion “creative growth and innovation by equitably advancing the tools and resources for a high-quality visual arts, design, and media arts education throughout diverse populations and communities of practice.”

The Canton High School chapter of the National Art Honor Society is in its second year and is actively working to grow and develop. NAHS is especially important in Canton where arts opportunities can be limited due to the small size of the school. So far, NAHS has hosted an event for seniors to decorate the graduation caps, and has been in the process of hosting a coffee house fundraiser that will include a student art display and live painting. Most recently, NAHS is beginning a mural on the wall of the ramp connecting the technology hallway to the arts hallway. 

Art teacher and NAHS advisor Jessica Stifel spoke on the importance of NAHS for Canton High School students. “We didn’t have enough advanced classes for many of my students that were artists,” she said, “so I wanted to give an opportunity for those artists to feel like they were part of something bigger and to show leadership and get to hang out with each other.” 

Ms. Stifel also described how the hallway has always called for a mural, especially since tech-ed and art have a nice partnership that she’d like to expand further. “They’re both very similar in their processes of problem solving and all that kind of stuff,” she said of the relationship between tech-ed and art. 

Due to scheduling logistics, art classes at CHS have been cut in the past, limiting the opportunities for arts students. Ms. Stifel said that the administration “has to understand that a level three class is not going to be as full as a level one class, so still running that even if it’s only for 10 kids, that’s important for those 10 kids to have that class available.” According to Ms. Stifel, even combining drawing and painting classes into one course allows for multiple levels to be offered, so that students are able to pursue at least one advanced art course. 

Ms. Stifel emphasized the importance of art in general for high school students. “I feel like we’re never going to overcome [other academic areas getting more recognition], but me personally I think that art is just as important as any other class you could take here,” she said. “Just being able to create something that didn’t exist before is a very powerful feeling… even if you don’t consider yourself artistic, being able to create something for two hours of your life can have a healing effect and actually help with the stress of everyday life.”