Press "Enter" to skip to content

VADA: A Year in Color

Create your own artistic identity and try not to copy everyone else because if you find your niche you’re going to really grow in that area.” Summed up senior Sadia Halpern. As graduation approaches, yet another group of talented young artists prepare to take their next steps into the world. Having been a part of Santa Barbara High’s Visual Art and Design Academy [VADA], these students received high quality training in every medium from charcoal sketching to ceramics. 

Although they came for the art, many students stayed for the community as VADA is often referred to as a “school within a school”. “I like to do art and I wanted to have a community of people who also like to do art and are creative and I heard that Vada was more of a community and I thought that would be nice to have coming into high school and I was just looking forward to taking really good art classes.” Said senior Julia Carlander on her time in the academy. Halpern agreed saying “It was mostly the community that made me stay, all my friends that I made are in here and the teachers are really amazing, they are all really kind and thoughtful and actually care about their students.”

Countless memories were made throughout the past four years for these students and among the favorites were the field trips. These included the senior trip to Disneyland, a tour of the Huntington Gardens and many VADA beach days. In addition to the community, VADA provides unique artistic opportunities for their students that would otherwise not be available to them. “I was looking to go into a career in art so I thought it could prepare me for that…they are really helpful with guiding you towards the career path that you want to follow and they can get you really connected with people that are already in that career” said senior Gilbert Herrera. Halpern agreed, saying “I was really attracted to the resources that they would be able to give me like all the different mediums I’d be able to explore as well as the guest speakers and the field trips to museums that they would take us on.” 

These students are currently working on their thesis for AP Studio Art, an advanced course that allows them to choose their mediums and focus. “It’s kind of the culmination of all the work that we’ve done in freshman, sophomore and junior year. Being able to choose what we wanted to do and dictate our own project…that was really fun”, explained Carlander. From their first freehand drawing class to their senior thesis, these students have put in countless hours of hard work and dedication to better themselves as artists and people. Overall, it was another successful year for VADA and we look forward to seeing what these talented Dons get up to in the future. 


  • Ember Reiter

    Ember Reiter is a sophomore at Santa Barbara High where she is a member of The MAD Academy. This is her first year writing for The Forge and she hopes to continue with the paper throughout high school. Outside of school she enjoys dancing at Santa Barbara Festival Ballet, where she has been training since she was three years old. She is also a big sports fan, especially football, Go Pack Go!

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.