• Dr. Bryn Harari

Giving Students a Chance and the Space


Bright California sunlight sparkles through large windows on a campus in Huntington Beach where students have attended the Hebrew Academy for over 50 years. Throughout this time, the campus has been reinvented to meet the ever-changing needs of a new era in education. Technology, top-tier academics, critical thinking, and creativity coincide to create innovative solutions to current and future challenges students themselves identify. The MakerSpace art room was designed for and by next-generation learners. It is open, spacious, and generously stocked with an array of enticing art supplies and intriguing materials for students to create, experiment, and collaborate with, as they realize the potential they have to create a new and better future.


“Strive to inspire,” is the mantra of professional artist and Hebrew Academy art teacher, Erna van Dyk. “Nothing is ever perfect and it shouldn’t be. We challenge ourselves, push our own creative boundaries, and become better in the process. A good learning experience in art transcends the particular art project and expands a child’s sense of self and what they can do.”


In the MakerSpace, students challenge themselves and expand their own boundaries. Creativity and new understandings expand in drawing, painting, sketching, and molding. Emphasis is placed on finding new ways to translate an image from mind to artwork. Students collaborate and design projects that encompass multiple perspectives and ideas. They are trained to explore a variety of materials and styles of art to help them express themselves. In collaboration, they learn to listen and consider other perspectives, understand one another and work towards common goals.


“Art is super fun and calming,” high school student Shaina says of the MakerSpace, “and incorporating it into school just makes school that much better!”


We look forward to inviting the community to join us as we recognize the innovation, creativity, and pride of the Hebrew Academy students as well as the Orange County community in the upcoming Art Festival that will take place on Sunday, November 13, 2022. “Allowing your art to be assessed by others requires courage and builds confidence in your work, creative expression, and even in yourself as an artist,” Ms. van Dyk can attest, “putting together a worthy entry is invaluable in the art world that builds a tremendous sense of accomplishment that transcends the MakerSpace.


To learn more about the educational opportunities available at the Hebrew Academy visit HACDS.org/Discover

Reprinted from Jewish Community Chronicle May/June 2022

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