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After lunch comes art class. Syracuse, New York isn't the sunniest place, so the art room has lots of windows to let in whatever light there is.
The radio is on and the room is comfortably messy. The teacher is Mr. Freeman. He isn't good looking, but he's smiling.
The narrator sees Ivy, but Ivy doesn't look at her.
Mr. Freeman tells the students: "This is where you can find your soul if you dare. Where you can touch a part of you that you've never dared look at before" (4.5).
He spends some time arguing that art is more important than the other subjects they are learning.
He shows the class a broken globe; his daughter Jenny put her foot through it. Mr. Freeman is inspired by the broken globe. He sees it has endless possibilities as art, now that it's broken.
Mr. Freeman explains that there are pieces of paper in the globe. Each student is supposed to take a piece. He says, "On the paper you will find one word, the name of an object. […] You will spend the rest of the year learning how to turn that object into art" (4.11).
The narrator can't believe how good the assignment sounds – too good to be schoolwork. The paper she chooses says "tree."
She doesn't think a tree is much of a challenge and tries to trade.
Mr. Freeman doesn't let her. He says, "You just chose your destiny, you can't change that" (4.12).
Next, he gives everybody a piece of clay. With the clay they will begin their new artistic experience.