Sometimes I hear parents ask why art is important, sometimes I hear them wonder what career their mini-artist will be able to have. I’ve heard that art is a “fluffy” subject that has no bearing on academics. And yes, I have even had some parents ask me to explain why their mini-artist didn’t create a masterpiece in their 2 hour workshop with me…
So I wanted to tell you why I teach the way I do.
As an art teacher my main aim is not to teach your child to paint, or draw or be an artist; my aim is to give your child opportunities to develop neuron pathways that lead to analytical thinking, curiosity, design thinking and speculative thought.
These thought patterns are often referred to as creative thinking – to keep it simple. Though creative thinking is far from simple. Creative thinking is the ability to find a solution where none previously exists, it is the ability to find logical pathways to solutions through experimentation. Creative thinking is the curiosity that is responsible for every new concept or untested idea and the analytics responsible for making those ideas a reality.
Sometimes in my classes, I’ll admit students don’t end up with a piece of artwork they can show the world and be proud of (I’m not proud of 90% of my own artwork!), but I can guarantee that inside every painting there are lessons that no one will ever see. This is what your child will be learning: The ability to display their thoughts and make something that doesn’t already exist, a reality.
Why is art making so important?
“Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of like anyone else.” Sydney Gurewitz Clemens
Creation requires our mind to make a string of decisions through logic and reasoning. As art is also an emotional pursuit this connection of logical reasoning and emotional reasoning develops a persuasive intellect, which we use to defend and express our decisions to others.
This ability to express our thoughts and feelings to others in a logical manner is a major factor in our individuality, not to mention the mental health benefits that come with the freedom of speaking our thoughts!
How will art help my child’s career?
Even if your child doesn’t want to be an artist, the benefits of their creative indulgence will valuable in adulthood.
When we create art we are discovering our opinions on visual beauty. An artist is able to look around them and see potential change in an environment to make it resonate more with them. This ability is the undercurrent of ideas, and the building bocks upon which careers such as engineering, designing and marketing sit.
Making art, experimenting with balance, colour, composition, line and shapes are all important parts of most careers. From business owners (advertising and media) to store clerks (window displays and signage), from Engineers (understanding lines, scale and angles) to office workers (putting together reports and proposals) – having experimented with art-making can improve your presentation skills and your ability to express your ideas, therefore increasing your chance of landing that job, or “that” client.
Also remembering that every employer LOVES innovative thinking, every business can benefit from a creative outlook. Experimenting with a varied range of art mediums as a child opens the neural pathways that make our adult brain ask the question – how can I make this work?
Where else can I get these benefits?
Any endeavour that connects emotion and logic through decision making can help build these skills. Creating music, acting out our own plays, creative writing, imagination role playing games, building from our own plans, cooking without a recipe, developing computer games – all of these activities encourages us to think logically, solve problems and justify decisions based upon our own opinions.
Creation is the key.
Following along to recipes or instructions, analysing other’s artworks, even knowing every single art technique in the history book sit in a different category of learning. Yes, these skills are incredibly important and should be given adequate attention and time to hone them – but by giving your child materials and opportunities to simply create the benefits will stretch far beyond the academic realm.
Therefore, when you bring your mini-artist to my classes we will create. Sure, we will learn technique too, but in our studio we don’t aim for perfection. We aim for understanding why it didn’t turn out quite as we expected. In my studio – We like mistakes.
And if your mini-artist proudly presents you with a soggy, grey piece of paper at the end of their lesson, know that there are all sorts of colour lessons within that grey. Know that the canvas stuck with crepe paper and dripping with glitter has taught them valuable lessons about adhesives, texture, balance and composition.
And know that in every messy piece of artwork, a little piece of your child’s individuality has been cemented.
Thankyou for indulging your child’s creative side, and thankyou for giving them the opportunity to experiment. One day their grey, soggy artworks may just surprise you.
All my love
your child’s art teacher.