[caption id="attachment_28014" align="alignright" width="300"] Benjamin Pollock (British, 1857-1937)
Characters, from Jack and the Giant Killer, Plate 7 for a Toy Theater, 1870–1890
Lithograph; Sheet: 6 11/16 × 8 7/16 in. (17 × 21.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1952 (52.541.1(7))
I was excited to learn that September 10th-16th is National Arts in Education Week (#VisualArtsEdMatters). Growing up, I was happy to have paint and colored pencils and ink and more to occupy my time. I didn’t realize how arts and visual literacy affected other parts of education until I worked with Art Resources Transfer. They run a program called Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program (DUC) that provides contemporary art books to public schools, and libraries.
While researching how to help educators express the importance of visual arts in the classroom, I learned how visual literacy plays an important part in all disciplines, including science and math. I also began to understand how much information we take in through images, photos, and videos. I wasn’t considering all the information that I was learning through graphics in textbooks when I was younger, how important shape and scale were to understanding different elements. When I consider how much information I process visually during the day, it is overwhelming, but having art education makes it easier to understand.
Art education teaches students important critical thinking skills. Since there is no “right” or “wrong” to creating, students have to consider what a piece of work needs. This can allow for experimentation and exploration. I hated sitting through critiques of work when I was in high school, but I now appreciate how looking at and talking about my work and the work of my peers taught me how to form opinions, offer constructive feedback, and listen to others.
Want to learn more?
Seeing things: a kid's guide to looking at photographs by Joel Meyerowitz
Making art together: how collaborative art-making can transform kids, classrooms, and communities by Mark Cooper with Lisa Sjostrom
Making art: materials and techniques for today's artist by Ed S. Brickler
Making art safely: alternative methods and materials in drawing, painting, printmaking, graphic design, and photography by Merle Spandorfer, Deborah Curtiss, Jack Snyder
Art education for social justice Editors Tom Anderson...[et al.]
Art education 11-18: meaning, purpose and direction edited by Richard Hickman
Art education: issues in postmodernist pedagogy by Roger Clark
Making art special: a curriculum for special education art by Helen Goren Shafton
Art lab for little kids: 52 playful projects for preschoolers! By Susan Schwake; photography by Rainer Schwake
I wanna take me a picture: teaching photography and writing to children by Wendy Ewald and Alexandra Lightfoot
A book of one's own: developing literacy through making books by Paul Johnson; graphic illustrator, Jayne Restall
Stop, think, go, do: how typography and graphic design influence behavior by Steven Heller and Mirko Ilić