Illustrating a Fear of School Shootings

Students in Yenni Tawahade’s Spring 2019 Drawing I class at Arapahoe Community College were asked to express an idea or feeling – in one word – through an illustration for their final project. Yesenia Alba chose the word “fear”, portraying her perception of how gun violence and school shootings are affecting students.

Alba's drawing of "Fear"“It was my goal to portray the fear experienced by students when schools are forced into precautionary measures,” said Alba. “When I started the assignment, it was based on how the actions of the Columbine-obsessed Florida teen prompted trepidation throughout local school systems.  Shortly thereafter, the STEM School shooting occurred.”

Alba indicates her drawing is solely black and white because she wanted to emphasize the emotion of fear without distracting viewers with additional color or objects.

“My goal is for those who see my drawing to put themselves in the shoes of a young child, and feel what they may feel,” Alba says. “We, as a society, hear about school shootings so often that perhaps we stopped talking about it. Yet, this is an issue that needs to be addressed and we need to speak up and do something.”

Alba hopes her drawing paves the way for continued conversation about the safety of students and schools. She was thankful to Tawahade for motivating her to create artwork with a message.

“Perspective, proportion and gesture are some of the central elements of our entry-level instruction,” Tawahade explained. “Telling a story, creating an expression by composition, that was the basis of the assignment. I challenged students to use these techniques to develop their single-word illustration. Yesenia’s work is outstanding. Her talent as a first-time drawing student is impressive, and I have encouraged her to continue developing her talent for visual storytelling.”

Alba, who graduated with her associate degree in Criminal Justice in May, currently works as a veterinary assistant at Wheat RidgeAnimal Hospital and plans to attend MSU Denver this fall. She hopes to earn her bachelor’s degree and become a probation officer.

by Jeff Duggan, ACC Communications Coordinator

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