Most educators and parents can agree that art is important kids, in that it stirs the imagination and gives a sense of wonder. But, did you know that art in education can help children develop vital educational and leadership skills that can be applied to every aspect of their lives? We took a look at some important skills that students can learn from art education.
Creativity is an obvious but extremely important skill gained from art education. Understanding and harnessing one’s own creativity allows them to think “outside of the box” and encourages original methods of problem solving. Students who think creatively are able to take unique approaches to problems and develop alternate solutions. Creativity is a great leadership skill to have because creators are ready to explore, tackle unseeable hurdles and embrace discovery.
Understanding various types of art takes fine-tuned observation. When creating art, you must be aware of all of your surroundings and observe objects as they are presented before you. For example, a student must be aware of the color, detail, light and more when painting a still life — and portray that on a canvas. Learning through art deconstructs preconceived notions of ideas and objects and allows students to keenly see what is in front of them.
Art is the obvious arena for self-expression. With every art piece a student creates, they are using their creativity, their vision, dreams, wonder and sense of the world. Art education gives students a safe and supportive environment to harness that self-expression, practice and master it. Students are also provided with the tools and materials they need, guidance and encouragement.
Studying and practicing each type of art takes a great deal of focus. Students must learn how to listen and apply techniques, while presenting their own “voice.” For example, developing one’s technique as a painter requires concentration to details, such as color, shadow, light. Students must focus on each detail of their painting, sculpture or musical score to create the masterpiece as a whole.
Discipline is a must when practicing and creating art. Students must pay attention to their educator, study the technique, follow instruction and take constructive advice in order to progress as an artist. In order to hone in on their craft, students must commit to their lessons and sacrifice their own time, outside of class.
Learning art does not come overnight. A student may be able to play the piano after one or two lessons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve become a pianist. It may take decades for an artist to master their craft. Art education teaches students not to give up, to keep working at their medium — whether it be music, dance, visual arts or theatre. Gradually, the student will be able to recognize their own improvements and where their perseverance has lead them. In this competitive job market, employees must continually improve on their own skills and even take on new ones to remain successful.
Although art education places a heavy emphasis on authenticity and originality, part of the learning process is understanding, and even emulating, artists before you. For example, when learning about Surrealism, students may reference the works of Dali. In learning through others, students can begin to recognize their most important traits and the techniques that they, themselves, are most successful at. Acknowledging and developing ourselves through differing perspectives is an important skill that should be carried over to every aspect of life.
For students to grow personally and academically, they must take risks. Learning through art education gives them the confidence to try new things, experiment with the unknown and formulate their own conclusions. Art education can be especially beneficial for students who are not as responsive to “traditional” ways of learning. This is a great trait found in most entrepreneurs or those in leadership positions.
Understanding art may foster new ways of thinking for many students. Initially, an art observer may be reluctant to articulate what they “think” the artist is portraying, but upon exploration, begin to think in terms previously foreign to them. For example, researchers from Newcastle University discovered that art can change our innate ways of thinking and how we see the world. They took older people to exhibitions to see how they would describe the contemporary pieces. Though, they experienced something new and were originally unable to describe it, they began to reference their own memories and experiences to connect with the art.
Most people have an innate fear of failing, and it is not particularly easy to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Picking up a sketchpad or paint brush can be daunting, especially if we are beginners. Art education allows students to explore and practice with new mediums and techniques, thereby finding their own “voice.” They gain confidence in the path to discovery, without fear of the final outcome. It goes without saying, that having confidence is beneficial for personal and professional relationships, helps students tackle a harder subjects, nurtures exploration in their own lives.
Have you put your creative skills to work? Be sure to create a gallery for your students on Creatubbles to share with other creators around the world. You can create an account for each of your students for free at www.creatubbles.com.