Melanie Wilson, artist and art teacher challenges us to look at the subject of art in a different way.
No other subject builds courage and resilience like Visual Arts. Art also prepares learners for industry like no other subject. It teaches discipline, responsibility and supplements prioritising. Any form of creative process teaches children that taking the short-cut is not a good option.
Art-making in the primary phase teaches
- decision making
- time management
- self motivation
- a moral perspective
- a positive concious state
- develops a strong core
- promotes self awareness
- encourages the highest form of learning ie. alternative problem solving skills and critical thinking.
If art education and creative occupation sharpens the mind, stretches the brain and ultimately makes such a difference, why does it remain a ‘cork in the ocean’? It has been acknowledged as one of the greatest drivers in human development. We measure intelligence through creativity….why then, in this day and age is Visual Art still stigmatised and overlooked in our schools?
Did you know? – The ancient meaning of the word ‘Art’ was affiliated with ancient ‘Science’. ‘Science’ in Latin means “CUT” and ‘Art’ in Latin means “JOIN”…so basically Art revolves around design… anything to do with sustaining life (from cars to appliances to gadgets). Consider the impact that this subject has on industry, architecture, brand development, marketing, advertising, film making, research – basically everything that defines human progress and development.
Did you know? – Each time your child engages with a form of art-making, his/her brain explodes with activity…working furiously. During a creative lesson the brain has to process new instructions, new information – navigating and exploring new processes that forces mental activity to increase. So, brain activity ‘spikes’ and because your child is generally exposed to the ‘unfamiliar’ during Art ( ie always on guard, looking for new solutions) – the subject literally ‘stretches the brain’…constantly challenging your child to critically analyse information. Most ‘normal’ subjects encourage “routine” – but left to its own own device, the brain will try make almost any routine into a habit…not ideal as habits generally allow our minds to “ramp down”.
INSPIRATION is a natural building block in child development. Researchers and scientists believe that creativity is genetic and this is where the issue of ‘talent’ occurs. Talent is the innate power to discover the hidden connection between three things, ie images, ideas, words, that nobody has ever seen before. If you link them you end up creating an utterly unique work for the world.
So what is my point? I believe that constructive art education encourages high achievement and builds skills that industry values. The creative classroom teaches children to work collaboratively. We need to thank our Art teachers who are ultimately responsible for nurturing talent and driving creative development in our classrooms.
Melanie Wilson – Teacher/Artist
(BAFA (HDE) UKZN)