Education in the arts or visual arts is based upon the kind of art that can be seen like drawing, painting, sculpture, and design. The focus of the art education may be on creating art, appreciating art, criticizing art or a combination of all. In the current times the domain and scope of art education is broadening going on to include a more expansive range of visual and popular culture.
Relevance of Art Education
As the young are introduced to art education, they develop skills and qualities we tend to associate with success in grownups. It is through education in the arts that encourages self-directed learning, increases school attendance and refines critical and creative skills. With a highly globalized economy, most professionals and organizations will value creativity and innovation that develops through artistic processes.
ART EDUCATION FOR
There are lucky few whose art education begins at a young age. They are impressionable and there is a lot of scope for nurturing and evolution. It is widely recognized today that there is a strong correlation between an education in art and the child’s all round development. The impact of art education varies as per the age of the child and has an impact on specific skills and age specific developmental aspects.
An education in art gives one of the strongest medium to children who are yet to develop a vocabulary strong enough to let others know of their feelings or emotions. It is natural for children to be attracted to the world of art and giving them an education in it does not really need much of an external push as they take to it all quite naturally. An early art education helps children develop stronger physical, intellectual, social and personal skills. In the global economy it is a well-rounded personality that is coming to be valued more than a unidimensional expert, and art education in a child ensures it.
Young adults or the teenagers have a very high energy and an enthusiasm that is unrivalled. This energy sometimes needs proper channelization which a traditional setup or the restricted educational environment fails to provide. A young adult when engages in art education learns to express and emote with a certain ease and confidence through this new found medium. It helps them develop personally and induces in them a sensitivity to understand the surroundings and the events that affect their worlds in a better way.
Art education in this demographic develops a higher focus and concentration, an eye for detail, an enhanced hand-eye coordination, creative thinking, a greater ability to follow through, highly evolved problem solving skills and advanced social skills.
It is in this age group that the career of an individual starts shaping up. This is the time when the path and direction of one’s career gets a little more clear and focused. Art education at this juncture in their lives gives their passion or inclination a purpose. To make a living through their passion is a dream that can actually realize for them. There is a natural maturity and seriousness that develops in them and a constructive change in their outlook is brought in.
Art education develops in them a stronger motivation, a clearer aim & goals and a set of highly evolved social skills. The awareness and sensitivity of an art student is found to be stronger and higher which becomes a coveted professional quality and helps develop an indispensable set of life skills.
In a competitive and fast moving world today, home makers are not satisfied with the mere role of a caregiver or a wallflower. There is always a space for creative engagement through exercises that build confidence and impart some great social skills. Art education for home makers is great for self-confidence, self-assuredness, creative thinking, innovation in everyday lives and greatly evolved problem solving skills.
Art education also makes them independent by giving them a medium and source of income. It empowers them by raising their self-confidence, engaging them, giving them additional income and giving their lives a sorted purpose.
Art education or art based modules bring in an all-round development in the personalities of professionals. Corporate environment is ruthless and dry, which may cause exhaustion, miscommunication, misunderstandings, undercurrents and dissatisfaction. An intermittent art engagement or education can bring in a positivity, a release and a safe zone for expression of any issues or concerns.
An education in art increases confidence, evolves interpersonal skills, enhances problem solving abilities, strengthens team bonding & ability to work in collaboration or as a team, increases leadership skills and sharpens innovation.
ART EDUCATION AS THERAPY
Children with Special Needs
Art is therapeutic and beneficial for everyone, all children of all ages and interests or abilities. However, it is especially beneficial for children with special needs or disabilities. While creating art, a child is building a wide variety of motor and cognitive skills. There are pleasurable and entirely positive sensory experiences to be gained from an involvement in art. Art is a creative process that presents the child with ample opportunities for expressing ideas and emotions hence facilitating children overcome their shortcoming in the oral or written media of communication. An added benefit of art education for children with special needs is an immense boost in the confidence and overall well-being of the child.
Expressive art can fortify a child with peace and relaxation, help them focus and derive a sense of accomplishment while working on and on completion of a creative or artistic projects. The children develop a constructive skill that instils a sense of pride in them as they become a part of projects – individual or collaborative.
Adults with Special Needs
Adults with special needs need constant care, attention and continuous therapy. Through fine, visual or creative arts education individuals with special needs are subtly nudged and encouraged to maximize their potential. Through a strong art education program individuals with special needs address their intellectual, motor, emotional, and inter-personal or social skills. Additionally they develop their skills and talent in the fine arts.
There is a calming effect on the general temperament and a sense of accomplishment and pride develops in the individuals as they attain completion of creative assignments or projects. There is a marked improvement in their fine motor skills, spatial skills and perception, decision-making skills, attention spans, imagination and problem solving skills.
Seniors in Old Homes
Seniors who develop dementia, Alzheimer’s or arthritis suffer greatly physically and may be inclined to get depressed in their loneliness. Involving seniors who are staying in old homes in art education is a creative way of introducing positivity in their lives. There is a definite healing among the seniors on emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental levels. Collaborative works with other members of the home also increases and improves their social skills and enhance a sense of bonding, inducing in them a sense of belonging somewhere.
Specialized assignments or projects can be designed that can help strengthen the memory of people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Engaging in the arts can also aid them in communicating with the caregivers, self-expression & awareness, relieving anxiety, and deal with transition, confusion, ill health, special conditions or any other kind of discomfort. Creating a work of art can actually divert them from their pains and daily concerns and give them a novel experience that helps them apply themselves and award them with a sense of accomplishment.
Reformation (Juvenile Homes/Jails)
In a reformation home or prison there is an inherent distrust among prisoners for fear of being taken advantage of. Any show of emotions becomes a vulnerable spot, inducing sociopathic tendencies in them. Through an able art therapist, an education in the arts has some definite effects on the inmates like a noticeable dip in the violent or aggressive tendencies, a medium for non-verbal communication, a channel for emotional release, and a healthy reestablishment of their identity apart from being just another inmate.
Art therapy provides a constructive diversion and an emotional escape by permitting him to express in a manner which has acceptability both within and outside of the prison. Therapy through art education works despite illiteracy and other hindrances to verbal communication and cognitive development.
WHY IS AN EDUCATION IN THE ARTS CRUCIAL?
Arts induce positivity and a general feeling of well-being in the society and among the community members. For children and teens it is a great emotional release and an important tool of development and learning. For professionals and corporates it is a great tool to induce positivity, improve team interactions and motivate the workforce. For the home makers it provides engagement and a tool for empowerment and independence. The creative influx art education provides to all those with special needs including, children, adults and elderly with motivation, confidence and a sense of accomplishment.
SPECIAL LIFE SKILLS THAT COME WITH AN ART EDUCATION.
Art education in itself is a form of education that prepares you for a career in the arts and develops in the students special life skills.
Equipped with an education in the arts, a student develops a strong ‘out of the box’ thinking and creativity becomes a habit.
There is a lot of confidence needed to put up a piece of work that you have created. Those that are engaged in the arts are gradually trained to be able to showcase theirs. This is a great way of confidence building.
A piece of art begins with a question or a problem. How do I express this emotion through colors? How do I turn sheer materials into something I want to say? How to best use the materials that I have? The kids who are involved in the arts are unknowingly engaged in problem solving thus developing their reasoning and understanding.
Picking up a color pencil or a brush, the child takes the first step towards becoming an expert. The child learns the importance of practice and perseverance by adhering to their assigned time and continually honing their skills with a goal to achieve excellence.
Taking charge and building the whole with a combination of smaller parts takes a lot of focus. Recent research also shows that children’s participation in the arts improves their ability to concentrate and focus in all aspects of their lives.
Participation or involvement in the arts hones the children’s talent to communicate through means other than mere words. It is a strength that is treasured and useful in the all over personality development.
Receiving Constructive Feedback
As the children indulge in the arts, they learn that critique or feedback is an important part of development. The children with an artistic education are receptive to constructive feedback.
Collaborative large scale artistic productions introduce children to the concept of teamwork and teach them the importance of collaboration. They understand the importance of their contribution and develop an ability to appreciate the contributory efforts of the others. The children begin to understand that even though they might not play the biggest or most important role, but there is a value attached to the contribution they make.
Artistic endeavors and participation in such projects brings in an ability of following things trough to their apt end. The children tend to develop healthy habits like punctuality, respecting other participatory contributions, and putting in efforts to contribute to the success of any endeavor. The applause or appreciation upon successful completion of the project induces a positive attachment to the dedication they put in.
When children collaborate with other participants in any artistic projects they learn that their actions have repercussions on the entire collective. The children learn to take responsibility for any mistake they might commit. They understand that mistakes are a part of learning, they should be acknowledged, taken a lesson from and then it is prudent to move on.
SIGNIFICANCE OF ART EDUCATION
With a fortified set of skills that is developed from education in the arts the employability of the student goes up. There is a significant economic value to the resource that an art student is. Creativity and out of the box thinking, enhanced problem solving skills, dedication, perseverance, receptivity to constructive feedback and accountability are just a few of the huge skill set that an art student brings to the table.
Positive Engagement of youth
There might be a sizable section of the youth that may not find involvement or engagement through the traditional media. The angst in such scenarios may take on volatile forms. When the youth is positively engaged in something as creatively engaging as art, that requires a near immersion in the activity, there is a definite calming effect on them and the society at large stands to gain through it too.
PARENTS & ART EDUCATION
The first education a child gains is from home. The parents become the first educators and play the most important part in shaping up the education path the child treads on. There needs to be a healthy outlook even among parents to encourage the children to pursue the arts.
Apart from encouragement, it is very important that the parents understand, children need not cut back on the artistic endeavors when it is exam time, as it has been established that the children gain from the artistic activities and develop a stronger brain to accept more information and an ability to process it.
Art fortified education or education in the field of arts promotes a healthy mind by giving the student or practitioner a positive medium to channelize and express all that they want to. There is a definite therapeutic effect of art on the mental health of the students and the society in general.
Arts or visual arts are more than just a hobby. It is a skill that can be banked on. Engagement in the arts raises the economic value of the time that is put in it, of the community by bringing in investors from within and from outside.
Culture finds a face with the help of the visual arts. Arts and an engagement with the arts brings up the cultural quotient & capital of the community. It is through art that the culture of the community finds a platform of exposure and also is exposed to the global elements, resulting in the strengthening of the culture as an entity.
As a social activity and act, art engages and gives a reason for the society to interact within itself. The social thread and structure of the community is fortified with elements from art as the positivity is glorified and the loopholes or the social evils are brought to light. There is a definite rise in the awareness among the members of the society as there is more and more engagement in the arts.
Those with special needs at any point in their lives are a responsibility of the society and stand to gain from the arts. An education in the arts proves as a saleable skill and a therapeutic engagement. The therapeutic effects of art on people with special needs have been proven by recent researches where it not only improves their motor skills but also has a positive impact on their cognitive or other mental faculties.
APPROACHES TO ART EDUCATION
Formal Classroom Education
In a formal classroom educational setup, aspiring artists or art students learn in a structured form where there is a theoretical and practical learning in a clinical setup with a teacher taught format where the students learn in a classroom environment.
Historically it was through apprenticeship that students learnt the trade of art. The maestros or masters took on interns and they learnt on the job through practical experiences. It is during their free time that the formal training took place in the art workshops, at home or outside by themselves. The masters were paid initially and later the interns were compensated for their work later in his training. The structure of the training or apprenticeship was varied, often decided by the maestro.