Greetings, and welcome to the ART ROOM. It's a new school year, and the art room is open for business! Here, we firmly believe that ART is a sanctuary and a place where we can go and awaken our souls, share that experience with others two and three-dimensionally, and make our lives and those of the folks around us, rich and wonderful. ART can be a happy place, but also a frustrating, infuriating and often cathartic place to find solutions to problems of all sizes. My classroom is often noisy, which is an important part of creating: sharing. Consider these observations made by professors Ellen Winner of Boston College, and Lois Hetland of Massachusetts College of Art in a recent Boston Globe article:
"As schools increasingly shape their classes to produce high standardized text scores, many life skills not measured by tests just don't get taught.It seems plausible to imagine that art classes might help fill the gap by encouraging different kinds of thinking, but there has been remarkably little careful study of what skills and modes of thinking the arts actually teach. To determine what happens inside arts classes, we spent an academic year studying five visual-arts classrooms in two local Boston-area schools. What we found in our analysis should worry parents and teachers facing cutbacks in school arts programs. While students in art classes learn techniques specific to art, such as how to draw, how to mix paint, or how to build a ceramic pot, they're also taught a remarkable array of mental habits not emphasized elsewhere in school. In our analysis, we identified eight "studio habits of mind" that arts classes taught, including the development of artistic craft. Each of these stood out from testable skills taught elsewhere in school.
One of these habits was persistence: Students worked on projects over sustained periods of time and were expected to find meaningful problems and persevere through frustration. Another was expression: Students were urged to move beyond technical skill to create works rich in emotion, atmosphere, and their own personal voice or vision. A third was making clear connections between schoolwork and the world outside the classroom: Students were taught to see their projects as part of the larger art world, past and present.
Each of these habits clearly has a role in life and learning, but we were particularly struck by the potentially broad value of four other kinds of thinking being taught in the art classes we documented: observing, envisioning, innovating through exploration, and reflective self-evaluation. Though far more difficult to quantify on a test than reading comprehension or math computation, each has a high value as a learning tool, both in school and elsewhere in life."
For the full article, go to http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/09/02/art_for_our_sake/
Come by for a visit, and if you have an art-related technique or subject you'd like to share with the class, call me and we'll schedule a time for you to come in!
Lastly, Consider these words by William Ivey, former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts:
"Maintaining our creativity as a nation is crucial to our freedom and our democracy. The arts teach us about the nobler impulse of our human nature, and many of the same principles that our nation was founded upon are embedded in making and consuming arts: tolerance, freedom of expression, openness, equality, justice, dignity and compassion."