Friday, June 12, 2015

Why Art Education is Important and how to support it.

With the recent recession, American schools began to cut funding from their art programs. This included classes like drawing, painting, photography, theater, music, ceramics, etc. Many people don't see the value in teaching our future adults art, design, and fine art, and many more don't see how it is important to our society.

So I decided to compile a short list and explanation why I believe that art is important.

Art covers many disciplines.
There is, as a sure example, the art field known as Scientific Illustration, that especially in the past was able to show us how minerals looked, dinosaur bones fit together, how the planets revolved around the sun, the places around earth that pictures weren't able to capture. Before there was photography and the internet, much of the ways we saw science was illustrated by brilliant artists and scientists. It till is today and is a beautiful way of cataloging the wonders of our universe. 

An example of illustrated
Another example is paint pigments. Paint, at least traditionally, was generally made by taking materials like minerals and crushing them together with other substances like egg yolk to create different colors and kinds of paint like oil, and tempera. This involves at least, some basic idea of chemistry. 

(AB EX NY: Art Terms in Action: Paint)
Artist, Janet Echelman, uses different types of materials like ropes, to create large floating art installations in urban areas. She has given Ted Talks and her work has been featured all over the globe. The large moving sculptures responds to the environment and are beautiful. I believe this kind of art must take into consideration of some engineering, architecture, and environmental science. 

Simon Beck, a British cartographer and artist, uses math and snow to create beautiful designs. 

This HuffintonPost talks about eight contemporary artists who talk about how art meets technology. 

Art reveals to us the lives of our fellow human beings and helps teach us empathy
A photographer, Jimmy Nelson, went out and photographed a series of portraits about vanishing people and cultures. Photo Director for National Geographic, David Griffin, gave a Ted Talk about how photography connects us to our world and our fellow human beings. 

Another artist, Melissa McCracken, has made a series of beautiful paintings showing us what it looks like to her to live with synesthesia. A condition that allows one to see colors for music, or taste for touch, or to see sounds. Laura Rosser, a pianist, has the same condition which NPR interviews her about. 

Melissa McCracken
"John Lenon- Imagine"
Another form of discipline is writing. Fiction has been studied by science and is said to help us have more empathy for others and change the way we think. So its not just nonfiction is that is educational to read, but fiction is as well. It can be a fun way to show us other lifestyles and cultures. 

Art is about us, humanity, and the world.
Artist, Jen Lewis, uses macro-photography to show how period blood can be beautiful. She started the project wondering why we take something so normal and turn into something that's spoken of in whispers and rarely acknowledged in society. 

Jen Lewis
Cartography is a discipline that has often used math and art to create beautiful pictures of our world, not only as how it is viewed from space, but how we have seen our world in the past. For example, in the past a lot of maps would show beautifully illustrated mythical creatures such as mermaids in places like the Atlantic Ocean and wonderfully drawn ships. They could also show us how the people at the time saw their world. Many countries would use their capital cities as the center of the world and reflected that on their map, using important cities like Jerusalem as the center for theology-minded maps. 

When the Europeans first came to Japan, the Japanese were fascinated by the Europeans whom they spent a large amount of time painting, creating woodblocks, and drawings. From this we can see how the Japanese were just as fascinated with the Europeans as Europeans found them. It can help show us what they thought of them and what other cultures find/found fascinating and important to document and create. 

With the technology of photography, everyone from around the globe can and has documented everything from important battles and events in history to things like selfies that some people think in the future might be used as a way to show what my generation was like. Some argue in the future they could even be considered an art form. 

It can help change our world and make a difference. 
There is an artist, Olafur Eliasson, who set out 100 tons worth of ice into blocks arranged in a circle, to reminds us that climate change is real and affects us. 

Emily Pilloton, creator of Studio H, helped start a project that taught students in poor, rural communities design and helped them create change for the better in their towns. 

(Emily Pilloton: Teaching design for change)

The Association of Graphic Artists, also known as AIGA, created a movement called, Design for Good, to help showcase, empower, and inspire, artists and designers to create art and design for the betterment of our society. 

MICA, has a graduate program in Social Design, to help teach students how to create design and art to isn't focused just on making money.
Art has been shown to be a good tool for those with disabilities and as a means of therapy. A feature in National Geographic several months ago featured an artist who gave masks to soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Irag that they could paint. These masks represented what it felt like to live with PTSD and other feelings that came from being out in battle. 

It has impacted history and helps show us life in the past. 
Without paintings we might not having an idea of how Queen Elizabeth I looked or how many other famous people in the past looked like. We might not have an idea of how to read Mayan words if they hadn't carved it into the buildings and painted it on their walls. We might not have ever learned how to read Egyptian Hieroglyphics and decode the past if they hadn't painted it everywhere on their walls, burial chambers, vases, and so on so forth. 

As an article I was reading on Deviantart pointed out, art can also teach things like cultural appreciation, Ethics, creativity, along with how to be flexible when things don't turn out how you planned, collaboration which can help teach patience, and other things. It also has been proven to help kids be more motivated and confident. Plus, there's something extremely satisfying about finishing an piece of art work or a design. 

Ways you can help support art
  1. Buy a piece of art (especially from your local artists!)
  2. Tell an artist how much you like their artwork (and actually take the time to look at it).
  3. Go to a museum and look around 
  4. Attend an art show or exhibition
  5. If there's a local college or university in the area that showcases their art students, attend the show and see what they're creating. 
  6. Go see a play, opera, concert, or theater show. 
  7. Share online art that inspires or touches you.
    1. Good places to see art online and share it or buy it is DeviantartBehanceSociety 6, and Etsy.
  8. Take an art class and create your own art.
    1. You can take classes or lean about art on sites like CourseraSkillshare, Craftsy, and Khan Academy,
  9. Watch Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" speech. 

As an art student, I wish that everyone would at least appreciate art and recognize that it is important to our society and culture. Art captures what we believe is important, makes important discoveries, and helps bring us together. It can also help us improve our thinking, energize us, relax us, and inspire us. Art can be a tool through which we can change the world. 


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