Arts Worth Fighting For

The study and practice of art has inspired some of the most innovative thinking and amazing expressions of creativity throughout history. Artistic expression opens the mind to endless imagination, exposing students to new ways of thinking that can be applied and referenced throughout their lives.

Art encourages students to see things differently, challenges them to explore new concepts and ideas, and provides a powerful outlet for self expression. In The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Eisner outlines the 10 Lessons the Arts Teach. Here, the power of art and the impact of art education is eloquently stated:

10 Lessons the Arts Teach

  1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
    Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
  2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
  3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
    One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
  4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
    Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
  5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know.
    The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
  6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
  7. The arts traffic in subtleties.
  8. The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
    All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
  9. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
    When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
  10. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
  11. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. http://www.naea-reston.org/advocacy/10-lessons-the-arts-teach

Simply stated, the arts are worth fighting for, and advocates are needed to bridge the gap between art and policy.  Advocates are needed to make public presentations, write blogs and speak at civic meetings, to develop educational programs, and to communicate the importance and benefits of arts programs to civic leaders.  It’s a role that requires an understanding of art education, passion for the arts, and the drive to share your passion with others.

Is your canvas your community?

Last revised on: June 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm

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