Michalina Kuczyńska, Foundation ARTeria interviews Aneta Ćwikieł-Swoboda
The Art School in Gliwice has been working for 20 years. Where did the idea of creating it came from?
Originally, this school was established as the General Secondary School with a military profile, but the idea of creating an art school was born later because of lack of such an institution nearby – that’s how the concept of Art School arose. The creator of this concept was the chairwoman of the Association of Animators of All-round Youth Development – M. Sc. Eng Grażyna Grzesik. The idea was accepted by the city, and the development of the school was included in the development strategy of Gliwice.
Currently, the school works and is developed well, our recruitment grows annually, and the willing people are coming not only from Gliwice, but also from Rybnik, Zabrze, or Tarnowskie Góry – so our reputation is quite good. Young people highlight during discussions mainly the atmosphere saying that the school is a friendly place for them.
Which specializations does the school offer and what are the causes for this choice?
Until now, we have specialized in photography and film. There is also high popularity among painting techniques, graphic techniques and a new – since 2021 – computer animation. When it comes to art subjects, we have a great number of hours and the students graduate very well prepared. A big part of them goes to the Art Universities. When it comes to soft skills, because of remote learning we are focusing on social skills at the moment.
Few schools decide for a constant cooperation with a pedagogue-career counsellor, whose job is to support students in choosing their career path. Where did this idea come from and how does such cooperation look like?
The idea of employing a career counsellor was mine. Since the moment the new curriculum came into existence, so when the eighth grades passed into secondary schools, I decided that such a person in our institution is a must. This turned out to be a bull’s-eye: Mrs Anna Lewicka works hard with our students. I think that young people are happy with this cooperation, they meet either on group classes and individual ones. The idea is also related to the framework curriculum, according to which such counsellor has to conduct at least 10 lessons with one class – so it also has an institutional aspect.
I’ve learned that the school takes part in a project ‘Competent students at the Secondary School of Fine Arts and the General School of Fine Arts’. Where did the idea come from and how do you acquire partners for practice hours?
The project was created in cooperation with the Project Hub company and it covers both the Secondary School of Fine Arts and the expiring High School of Fine Arts. The main idea of the project is to give an internship for 75 students of our school in full-time hours – 150 hours in institutions related to art actions. It means that the students will get an Internship at photography companies, associations, in the Gliwice Center of Non-Governmental Organizations, at the library and museums. There are also remedial classes organised as a part of the project.
Currently, we are in the process of searching for partners: little companies that employ from two to several people, so that the student’s care will be individual, so that each of them can realistically gain something. Students may also find an organisation or a company, where they would like to get an internship, themselves – however, this must be a place related to their art actions. There will also be courses in areas such as: stop-motion animation, Adobe programs, color correction of photos for printing, copyrights or 3D graphics.
The students will get paid for the internship, and the certificate of finishing the internship in full-time hours will be a valuable content in their portfolio.
Some of your students decides to continue their education at art uniwersities and some of them instantly starts to work. Do you have any knowledge on the fates of your ex-students?
The school provides a wide range of skills and prepares students comprehensively for further education. Some of our pupils choose to continue education, these are mainly art schools (about 70% of the ex-students), but some of them choose directions not connected with art, leaving their art skills acquired at school as an inspiration or a hobby.
What are your future plans related to school activities?
I definitely dream of a bigger building with a professional art gallery due to the growing interest (smiles). We are making efforts to ensure our students working in small groups, so a bigger building would be very helpful because of it.
Thank you very much for the conversation!
Comes from a little town in Świętokrzyskie district. She was educated at High School in Wodzisław and graduated WSP in Cracow. She has a master’s degree in biology. Since 2000, Ćwikieł-Swoboda is associated with the Association of Animators of All-round Youth Development in Gliwice. She is focused on improving her professional qualifications, because the job of a teacher demands lifelong learning. Her job’s goal is to work as a boss in a dynamic, creative team and to improve interpersonal skills by many contacts with other people.
Photo: Michalina Kuczyńska