9/17/2009 9:17:53 AM
I agree with KMC. As a practicing artist myself, I am often faced with answering the question of "what is the value of art"? I know from my own work that the level of engagement required is tremendous and constant.
As an art educator, one of the largest issues with new students is developing their level of focus and concentration, which is often limited due to media exposure (i.e. television, video, internet, etc...). This media changes very quickly and often results in a shortened attention span. One of the first exercises I run with my drawing class is to simply look at something in the class for 2 minutes. Most students cannot do this, but those that do, realize they are seeing more and begin to appreciate the value of an increased level of concentration. This does not only apply to being an artist. All professions need a level of concentration to be performed properly. With all this talk of "21st Century Skills," I am worried that basic abilities such as simply being able to focus may be overlooked.
I am not surprised by any of the conclusions, but I am happy to hear them explained scientifically. I think it gives weight to the argument of increased art training at all levels of schooling. I think its the delivery of the training that needs to be examined. As the article mentions, some do not take to music or painting, or some do not take to art at all. Instead of a strict focus on an art form, a more exploratory approach where each student begins to identify their interest through experience and exploration would be more successful. That coupled with less emphasis on the quality (i.e. you are good at art/you are bad at art) and more on have you improved personally (i.e. graded from where you start to where you finish, although I feel it shouldn't be graded at all, which would allow for personal development and expression for its own sake as opposed to fulfilling pre-set requirements, would be a better approach).
Finally, art education also needs to focus on something Ramesh did say. Although I would use building and not creating, it is an inborn urge. The issue is how do you change societal attitudes to place more value on it?