The DIMINISHING Role of Art in Childrens Lives

Not too long ago someone (from Europe I think) on the forum asked if kids were taught art in schools here or where ever we were. This article doesn't give us a definitive answer but cites recent studies in the Netherlands and the USA that provide insight. The unwritten bottom line is if you want your kids to be exposed to art you're going to have to do it yourself. I hope you will find this beneficial to you and your family.


  • @BOB73 We have found the only way to teach children adequately is to teach them at home.  I help my daughter home school her little girl.  Art and music are both in her curriculum.  Public school teaches for the masses not for gifted children.  They are good at working with children with learning disabilities, but for the average child not enough is taught.  Not the teachers fault, but the lack of discipline and other things that go on at the public school that isn't told to the public at large.  If you want your children to have a good basic education, you have to over see it yourself.  It is sad to think of all the children that could accomplish so much more, if only they were taught. 
    BOB73[Deleted User]Weatherfordmichalis
  • I'm so glad that more and more parents share that view.
  • I tried to get my son interested in art but was never successful.  He is more of a math/physics guy which from a putting bread on the table standpoint is probably more marketable anyway. 
  • edited July 2017
    @PaulB:  Yeah, my son is at the Air Force Academy to study physics or Aerospace engineering (hasn't decided yet).  I don't think they will give him much time to paint leaves.  lol
  • I thought one of the most interesting aspects of the articles was that all the studies they looked at over the last 30 years agreed that children that are given art opportunities to express themselves do better in other math/science related classes as well. @JeffAllen, I met the guy that designed the chapel at the AF Academy when I was a teenager he said he was an artist long before going back to study architecture.
  • I don't know what my four month old baby is going to become. He likes Angus Young of ACDC though  ;) but if some of the things are taught from the beginning then they excel in those. I feel private teaching is best for arts rather than a school curriculum. I don't know  if it really makes children use the other side of the brain.
  • It's not so much about teaching art as it is about letting kids have a time/place and materials to express themselves and how important it is as a "glue" that helps keep family/social/academic efforts together.
  • edited July 2017
    It is more difficult these days to let children be children and let them really feel just how important they really are to the whole. And picking up art helps to create an actual discipline (a discipline like no other) that lets them know what being whole is and can return to this again and again for a lifetime. I grew up the only truly creative person in my entire family, extremely difficult when surrounded by others who are not, all the time growing up and into adulthood young and mature. But received so much good and gave so much to the community, thank goodness! I certainly enjoy art for what it has and continues to do for me and for others and for this life around me. Also right now I need it to help myself as always, much works in similar way as a mathematician, for it is the same creative process, same problem resolving exercise. Been privileged to have direct conversations on this.
  • @BOB73: I can't wait to see that chapel.  I'm going there in September for parents day.  Architecture is one of those disciplines that require a hybrid mindset (left and right brain if you like). 
  • @JeffAllen, Yea like an awesome artist who knows calculus and speaks trigonometry. This architect went to MIT. Kudos to your son for making the grade. I mentored a jr firefighter who was on the list for Annapolis. He had so much going for him he could have gone on but at the last minute he decided to go to the Coast Guard Academy instead. It was a sure thing and he wouldn't have to wait. He was on his way to becoming a really good firefighter too. He's a lieutenant now (same as a captain in Air Force) and catching smugglers, human traffickers and polluters now and loves it. Your son will get a great education there.
  • There's this great movement happening here...and I think around the world. Get some rocks, paint them, put your postcode on the back then leave them in parks for kids/adults to find, post the location on the designated Facebook page.My boy and spent this morning painting some rocks and we will put them out along a local walking track when the weather clears.

  • art has led to social interaction since man first made squiggles on cave walls. great idea. nice feathers too.
  • @PaulB you're a physics guy????  My husband is a physicist and supervises over 200 aerospace engineers (aka rocket scientists) for a major aerospace company in the Silicon Valley for satellite development and launches.  I have always been right-brained - very artistic ...........  he is extremely logical and left-brained but that man can look at one of my paintings and instantly know what I am missing when I am struggling.  It is genius and amazes me.  No wonder you are so meticulous and patient and genius with your colors! 
  • PaulBPaulB mod
    @Julianna Yes, physics, but I do machine learning.  But that's really no better.  Point being: no artistic soul, just all about the processes.  That trick of staring at things and finding errors is trained into us.  I imagine I could talk to your husband more easily than I can discuss brush strokes here.
  • @Julianna:  Your husband's job sounds cool.  At the Air Force academy apparently the Aerospace engineering majors get to work on a satellite launch as part of a senior capstone project.  My son is majoring in either Physics or aerospace there so he will probably get to do that sort of thing.  I'm pretty excited (and jealous) for him.

  • @JeffAllen that really is awesome!  You also must be extremely proud of him - that is an amazing feat he is embarking on - he won't have to worry about job security, that's for sure.  I think my husband was in his early 30s by the time he finished school - he also got a master's in computer science while he was at it so that may have prolonged things.  It really amazes me how brilliant thinkers can be genius artistically - I hope more teachers are keen on that.  Especially Asperger's children teachers.  My husband doesn't think of himself as creative/artistic at all and neither did his family encourage it - I wonder what would have happened - I bet he would have been an amazing architect or draftsman.
  • Here in New Jersey, at least in my local school district, the arts (visual, and performing) are alive and well.  (Thankfully, we have art standards that require arts to be taught in public schools.)  

    I think young people need to make connections with their interests (and be given free choice) and then be shown how to apply those interests and choices to artmaking.  

    And then, not everyone thinks visually, auditorily or kinesthetically (Howard Gardner's learning modalities).  My husband is strictly a mathematical/logical thinker.  Art (visual or performing) is not his gig, except music.  Shrug.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited July 2017
    @Eliza to people like your husband Music is another form of mathematics like algebra coupled with the physics of sound waves. A lot of those guys really are artists. My favorite is Frank Lloyd Wright

       If it weren't for people like them where would we hang our art?
  • This is sort of related to the topic at hand but sort of popped into my head this morning so I thought I would mention it.  Sometimes I think that the act of painting itself is not really all that creative and let me clarify this because I don't mean that in a negative way.

    The act of painting especially in the way taught on this site is actually more about skills related to spatial relationship awareness and color perception than creativity.  Rendering a still life, copying a photo etc is more of a skill set. 

    I think once you master this skillset you can use it creatively in the same way once you master grammar and understand proper writing structure you can write creative stories.

    So maybe painting is just a difficult craft that once mastered can become creative once you start doing things like invent scenes as opposed to just copying them.  Until you get to that point maybe you are just a craftsman learning the craft of painting.

  • edited July 2017
    @JeffAllen, I believe you are on to something here! I agree completely, been trying to explain this for long time with little understanding or agreement. When I paint in realism there is no creativity involved, except for in the problem solving in the craft of painting, once mastered to any degree then expression and creative invention comes into the play. This is where in my case, not alone, surrealism comes in for me but not here on this site. And this is where I recognize the importance of good realism, including a certain mastery in it, in order to paint surrealistic images, extending myself beyond realism yet including realism, both. But here on this site, I am studying realism in oil, with Mark and everyone and my goal in to acquire a certain mastery so that I may progress in both with main interest in realism.
  • @Forgiveness:  Yeah.  I think once you get to the point where you can invent things and they look realistic you not only are being creative but it is also proof that you have gotten closer to mastering the craft of painting.

  • edited July 2017
    I also find the same when it comes to graphic design and design work of any sort, the better the realism the better and more useful a design becomes, this is included in learning and mastering good design skill, quite similar to math. So my skills in math are best applied in design work, forming grids in all forms for any application and inventing or creating good design work. My math skills are also excellent for resolving computer issues and arriving at establishing the smoothest most efficient computer imaginable. But, put me behind a cash register in any store, any business or in accounting and I fail, I can barely understand doing my own income tax, I don't think I could ever teach math. And mathematicians, musicians and I can get along really quite well in resolving problems together with much fun often leading to outstanding results created.
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  • Thanks @dencal it's nice to see somebody in the world thinks it's a good idea. A lot of future forum members in that crowd I hope.
  • Interesting and important discussion. I had the rest fortune to go to a private school from 2nd to 5th grades, and there we had art and/or music every day. And crafts (pottery, generally) on days when we didn't have art. It was required for all students.

    Both the art and the music have stood me well - and this is also true of my schoolmates who had the same two wonderful teachers. I am a "retired" professional musician (singer/composer in the classical vein, formerly a singer/songwriter), and the art has sort of filled the hole in my heart when I discovered I couldn't sing anymore.

    Back to school - my art teacher gave us a six jars of poster paint (Same colours as Geneva!! in Gerber baby jars in a nice little box) and a palette for mixing colours (aluminium TV Dinner trays), and we were given our heads to do what we wanted. Paintings were hung throughout the school, and if you as a middle schooler (3-5th grades) found your painting hanging in the Upper School halls - wow, that was a complement!! And since everyone had to walk through those halls to get to the Library, you know your work was seen ;)  We were taught  how to mix colours and to paint either what we saw (which I could never do) or from our imaginations (my style!) I remember Mdme Wadlow telling me to paint what I saw outside the window - and I looked and saw nothing - I didn't get it ;) And went back to painting horses. Many id my classmates did get it, and many still paint these 50 + years later...

    Anyway, these classes were not about drawing or painting in the lines. When I see art classes in schools today, I cry - there is no comparison.

    And I won't even go into how wonderful the music program was.... ;)

    Rant over LOL
  • Thanks @Weatherford. We share similar experiences. Art in preschool and the elementary grades was very important and we had good, caring teachers that knew that art was more than a way to keep youngsters occupied.
  • strange that I was thinking about this subject today. I don't know if its so much about lack of school as it is imput designed to sell toys etc. Its like they have reinvented the whole childern's world of color full of hot colors etc.  
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