All Welcome at The Art Club


At Coginchaug Regional High School, students are extremely lucky to have a talented staff that is willing to share their talents during after school activities.  Mr. Bothamley is one such teacher that shares his passion for art by being the facilitator of The Art Club after school every Wednesday.  He stated, “I wanted to facilitate a place where students can come in and make art.”  You don’t have to be the best at art to join since all students are welcome here.   He explained that it “is open to students who have an interest in pursuing a direction in the field of visual arts”.  The focus of the club is to “gain proficiency in art making, participate in critiques, and visual arts portfolio development.”  Freshman Art Club member, Brooke Konefal, shared her thoughts on the club, “Everyone needs something in their life to relieve stress, and for me, art club is that thing.  Art club provides a great opportunity to experiment with different art mediums, express myself, improve, and connect with others with similar artistic interests.”  

The art that is created here has a large variety of different areas of visual arts.  Mr. Bothamley said, “the club is choice based where students can work on what they want.”  Some of the choices include working with clay, making jewelry, painting, printmaking, sculpting, and knitting hats.  Sophomore Brooklyn Caraballo had some thoughts on art club, “I feel art club is a great way for someone to express their creativity in ways that they want.  I feel that it’s great to have an art club so kids can go and hang out while expressing themselves creatively.”  Junior Catherine Taylor also values the art club for its creative freedom.  She says, “Although I am currently taking an art class, having an opportunity like an art club is so valuable to me. It allows for complete creative freedom, something that isn’t always possible to achieve in a more regimented class. It’s a powerful feeling, knowing that you have access to an endless amount of resources that you can use to express yourself. Additionally, being in a room of people so devoted to the same interest you have is incredibly inspiring. And with Mr. Bothamley always ready to assist and support you, there really isn’t a more wonderful way to spend an hour and a half on a Wednesday afternoon.

Sometimes students work together to create art on a larger scale.  For example, they painted concrete jersey barriers for the Durham Fair with a positive message saying that is similar to the Art Club motto, “Everyone is Welcome at the Durham Fair” with rolling hills and bright skies in the background.  Mr. Bothamley stated that the reason the Art Club volunteered their time was that, “We hoped people would enjoy the mural on their way into the Durham Fair and the message stays with them and promotes kindness and inclusion”.  Along with the idea of kindness & inclusion, Brooke also said, “It’s a nice group of people in the club, and you can tell that everyone really enjoys what they’re doing.”

Art that was created at the club has been submitted to external art contests with contestants from other schools.  Our students have won several times as they are quite talented and are given time and space to express their creativity.  Students who may be interested in pursuing a career in visual arts are encouraged to create art into a portfolio that can be used to submit to a potential college as part of the enrollment process.  Mr. Bothalmey is doing so much more than just giving students a place to do art.  He is giving students a chance to explore all different types of art that they might not ever have an opportunity to explore, giving them the gift of volunteering to help the community both inside and outside of school, and helping those who want to explore visual arts beyond high school a chance to build a portfolio to take with them to the next level of their education.