To the average high school student, Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform) may be new educational territory. The schedule and pedagogy are all very foreign, especially to incoming freshmen. During the KM Perform Visual Reference Guide seminar, taught by Art Focus mentor Mr. Keefe, students looked into an easy way to convey information about our school as well as current issues of importance to the campus as a whole. These topics were presented through various visual formats, such as posters, calendars, and infographics.
The aforementioned complexity of KM Perform is what inspired Mr. Keefe to conduct this seminar. “Information in KM Perform comes at you pretty quick and is often [altered],” he explained. “Our brains are not wired to keep that much information in our short term memories.” This particular seminar can properly represent our school while also bringing students of all focuses together. Mr. Keefe went on to say, “Maybe students won’t remember every little detail of good design, but they will walk away with experience working together, creating something useful out of nothing, and the good feeling from doing something for your community. Those are valuable experiences.”
As for the projects, there are three groups of students with different topics and goals. For example, one group hopes to raise awareness about teenage vaping by creating a series of posters and displaying them near bathroom areas. “Another goal we have is to get the school to make and sign a petition to get the gas station across from the school to market itself as a Kwik Trip, not a tobacco market,” elaborated sophomore Art Focus Lily Gyles. According to a study by the Safety and Health Magazine, 37 percent of high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes as of 2019, a major jump from the 28 percent in 2017. Many anti-vape campaigns set out to instill fear in their audience, but this group intends to reach people in a more informative manner through the lens of art.
The second group has their focus specifically on KM Perform instead of KMHS as a whole. It relates to the scheduling of KM Perform, and the project, a visual calendar, is intended to create clarity. The layout is simple, communicating whether it’s a Blue or Gold day and/or which major events we have to look forward to as a school, all things that prove to be very helpful to students. “We hope the impact of this visual timeline will inform people of events throughout the year so they can prepare themselves accordingly,” says one member of the group, senior Art Focus Gabrielle Kalix. “We want people to be aware of what this year has in [store].”
The third and final group is also representing KM Perform by creating an infographic. It supplies an overview of everything that sets KM Perform apart, such as our community, college preparation, and self-driven nature. It also touches on each focus area and what to expect from them. “The [main] impact we are hoping to achieve is to give incoming students a positive insight into what our school does,” expressed junior Art Focus Estrella Guevara. Inaccurate beliefs often stem from rumors heard in passing, which other students are more likely to take as fact. This infographic will ideally clear up these misconceptions and serve as a proper representation of what our school is all about.
Using visuals to present information can have a completely different effect on a person. For schools as innovative as KM Perform and topics as serious as teenage vaping, it is important we use the visual medium to our advantage and create something educational. Keep an eye out for these projects as you navigate the school or the web, and be sure to spread the word!