Artists at Bronx Science: Where Art Thou?


Julia Sperling

Jasmine Kelly ’21 draws in her free time as a stress reliever from the rigorous academic life at Bronx Science. Like many of our student artists, she finds time to make art after school and on weekends.

Each night when Ella Wilkinson ’21 goes to turn off her lights, her eyes meet a framed page of a magazine beside the light switch. On the page is her drawing of a horse, which a magazine chose to publish when she was in middle school. Although Wilkinson remembers this competition very well, she can’t remember the last time she picked up a pencil to draw.

“If it’s not part of my courses or my extracurriculars, it’s hard for me to find time to do it,” Wilkinson said. Many Bronx Science students share this frustration, but especially those primarily interested in the arts, as their interests are hard to fit into their course schedules at Bronx Science.

“If I had more class periods, I’d definitely consider taking art classes more than just one year at Bronx Science,” Wilkinson said. “But right now, I don’t even have a lunch period, because I chose to also take my art elective at this time.”

If Wilkinson would like to take another visual art course, she would only have from six to choose. Yet if she wanted to take a biology class, she would have a much harder time choosing between the twenty-one biology classes offered at Bronx Science.However, it comes as no surprise that Bronx Science offers more science classes than any other subject, as the school has been science-oriented since is inception in 1938.

Bronx Science attracts students geared towards STEM due to its numerous STEM classes and resources; it is natural that there are fewer students primarily interested in the arts. While a student can be fascinated by both catalytic reactions and cubism, it sometimes seems as if the student body at Bronx Science largely favors the former.

“It seems less apropros to bring up an art–related conversation when everyone is talking about the details of creating a cure for cancer or the impact that communism in China has on the economy of the United States. I think the struggle here is not necessarily finding opportunities to share your art, but rather to discuss art and have it interpreted and analyzed by others,” said Akunna Njoku ’21. Outside of school, Njoku dances, makes her own music, models, and designs clothing. With such a passion for creative expression, she is eager to find a community and express her thoughts.

Njoku hopes to bring together a community of artists in a fashion show that she plans to create at Bronx Science. “The fashion show that I’m putting on directly intersects with science because the big question of the show is ‘what would we wear if our earth was unlivable in the future?’ It’s a conscious collection that takes both art and STEM interests into account,” said Njoku. She is looking forward to mixing her interests in science and art, showing others that the two are not mutually exclusive. They do not have to exist separately: in one’s interests, class schedule, or in this case, a fashion show.

Njoku’s fashion show will be an addition to the other arts-centered hubs at Bronx Science, in which students can participate in after school, including the fall musical, various music concerts, S!NG, the school’s literary magazine ‘Dynamo,’ and an array of arts–based clubs such as Urban Dance Club and Painting Club. These events are all bastions of creativity at Bronx Science.

For some Bronx Science students, art is used as a way to let off steam after a day of rigorous academics. “For me, art is an escape. If I took more more art classes, it would start to feel like an academic thing. So maybe it is a good thing that it’s a leisure time activity for me. It’s something that I can do when I need a break,” said Jasmine Kelly ’21, a visual artist in her spare time.

Whether their interests in art intersect with the overall Bronx Science student body or not, the community of student artists at Bronx Science is a significant part of our school’s community.

Our student artists bring academic diversity and creativity to our school community, enriching the school’s culture for everyone, whether they are more interested in the sciences or in the arts. These student artists approach their craft and their interest in the arts with the same intensity and dedication that Bronx Science students bring to all that they do, whatever the field.

Njoku’s fashion show will be an addition to the other arts-centered hubs at Bronx Science.