by TARA HAUCK
“If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint”– Edward Hopper
Creativity and curiosity go hand in hand to pave the way toward greater intelligence and personal expression.
The brain’s elasticity strengthens and expands when people are curious and seek different experiences.
A way to foster both creativity and curiosity is through art education. Different art forms push students to take up the challenge of creating personal works of art. Students forget their concerns as their thoughts become focused on the journey of a creative activity.
Their innate curiosity to try new things, make new projects, and learn new art forms ignites their creativity.
The process of creating art expresses ideas, information, and dreams. Art builds a sense of self, self-esteem, and the well-deserved feeling of pride in creating a personal piece of artwork.
“You get what you give…except with art you always get so much more,” said Shauna Davis, the Seven Summits Centre for Learning Art Education teacher. “Art is an activity that allows students to learn through discovery and to display their personal creativity.”
Students do this by slowing down and taking time to observe.
Participating in the process of making art encourages students to look at the world differently as they discover hidden talents and newfound abilities. Davis particularly likes the clay project her art students completed.
“I like to begin with artwork students are going to be good at because it builds interest and confidence,” she said.
Davis describes her class workshop as a secure place for students to express themselves. This leads to optimism as students spread the message that it is fun making things.
“Art is not out of reach whether a student believes, or has been told, that they are good at it or not,” said Davis. “I firmly believe that art is for everyone.”
Everyone has art-making skills as they are transferable from the other areas of their lives. For example, Davis explains that the fine motor skills start from infancy and continue to develop when students learn cursive writing.
As children learn to link letters with pencil to paper, the more neatly the child tries to write, the more they sharpen their future drawing skills. It is just a matter of connecting these familiar skills to the techniques of art that they may have never tried before.
Davis’s greatest joy is when students come in with a negative idea about art, and from the instructed activities, they begin to see that they too can make amazing artwork pieces.
“Students are often rushing to get through the project, and I like to give them extra help to conceptualize possibilities, get them to do more with each project as I always leave room for improvement by meeting them where they are at and nudging them to experience more.
“After all, art is just a bunch of teachable skills that with curiosity and time, everyone can learn to take part in creating individual works of art,” said Davis. “Being a teacher, workshop instructor, and photographer allows me to meet people that I otherwise wouldn’t meet, and help people to learn art which gives me a greater appreciation for my artistic path in life.”
Getting students more involved in visual arts starts with exposure, interesting options, engagement, and time.
“I make it my goal to get the students to work with various types of art material in class,” she said. “They really enjoy the different paths art can take them.”
Currently, Seven Summits students attend art workshops throughout the entire year.
This immersion in the arts allows for students to gain from the many benefits that result from curiosity, creativity, and, of course, art exposure.