Habib A. always liked art and drawing but had no idea that it could become a path to a career until his high school art teacher helped him develop his talent and explore directions that could become a profession.

“During the pandemic, I kept falling behind in school and just wasn’t motivated to do schoolwork,” he explained. “When we went back in person, sitting in a classroom for seven hours a day felt like jail. So, I went looking for a school that fit the way I learn.”

When he transferred to Flex High, he was able to learn at his pace and choose from an array of art classes, which gave him the motivation to come to school every day. Art teacher Sheila Brex sees that dynamic every day, so she actively engages students with something that interests them.

“I had a few kids who couldn’t seem to concentrate on school, so I had them design their own skateboards, complete with a strategy, theme and design boards,” she said. “They had a blast and it got them excited about learning. Another student loved fashion design, so I challenged her to explore fabric design, dying, sewing and fashion illustration.”

Brex points out that completing art projects boost a student’s self-confidence and gives them the pride of accomplishment. “Shy students tend to come out of their shell because their art becomes a prop that people can focus on instead of themselves,” she said. “For the truly talented students, we open their eyes to a possible career and teach them the business side of art.”

Habib’s school is located in the Franklinton Arts District in Columbus, which is rich with artist studios, performance venues, galleries and maker spaces. Local artists interact with Flex High students on field trips and by hosting seminars where students are exposed to painting, glass blowing, pottery, tattoo art, production design and more.

Habib took software design classes like Photoshop and Illustrator and developed an interest in animation. He graduated from Flex and earned a scholarship from the Columbus College of Art and Design where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and hopes to become a game designer at large studio.

“I almost can’t believe it. Just a couple years ago, I didn’t think I would even graduate high school,” Habib said. “My teachers and counselors helped me get on the right path.”

Click to Tweet: This High School Student went from boredom to brilliance after he found Art. #YouthArtMonth

March is Youth Art Month, a time to promote art education for young people and Brex is pleased to see the focus on STEM shifting toward STEAM to include arts.

“Not only do we motivate students through the arts, but it grows their curiosity, creativity and imagination that can fuel scientific discovery and advancement,” she said. “The top scientists in the world and throughout history have been unconventional thinkers with keen imaginations often cultivated through music or visual arts.

Written By:
Ann Abajian