Sunday, September 25, 2011

Update on last week, and thoughts on art education

As you can see from the image, I am back up an running. This is a painting that I started earlier this summer, but never finished. I'm glad to be working again, when I do not make art I get cranky. I think this will be the last of the large-scale flower images (at least for a while). It might be an interesting idea to pursue later, but for now it's time to let that idea rest.

The second part of this posting is going to be devoted to thoughts on arts education. In the UK options are being weighed for the elimination of arts programming in some schools. For more specific information click here. New curricula are being formulated that center on math, English, science, foreign languages and either history or geography.

While these subjects are important, I do not believe they should be the sole focus of an education program. In the article linked above, the director of learning at the Tate Museum stated that courses in art bring students into alternative ways of thinking and addressing problems. She stated that this is needed in contemporary times and that western society has always valued innovation going back to the Renaissance.

I agree with these statements. The arts develop creativity, and with creativity new directions in subjects like math, English, science etc. are realized. When I was teaching art appreciation, one of the things I tried to impart was how connected the arts are to everyday human thought and interaction. Students were often amazed when this was pointed out, and it was from this teaching experience that I learned how this occurs on a subconscious level. Until it was pointed out to them, students did not realize how art shapes individual thought and opinion. After the fact, I noticed that students were drawing these comparisons on their own and bringing a vibrancy to the learning process that was previously missing.

Whether this stayed with them after they left my class I cannot say. However, I believe if the arts were more present in the school curriculum at an earlier age of development students would be better learners by the time they got to middle and high school. The links between subjects and thought could be consciously drawn, and built upon, leading to new innovations and developments.

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