May 25, 2013 – Saturday – NVAS: Standard 6


National Visual Arts Standards – Standard 6
Making Connections Between the Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

Frank Korb


Welcome to the last weekend of thinking about the 6 OVERARCHING GOALS that all students ought to work toward and focus on EVERY DAY during the year in all of their art classes. These Goals are unpacked from the National Standards for the Visual Arts so that they make more sense to the students and parents who are working with them through their art making and other art experiences. As I use goals in my classroom it OPENS THE FOLDER to learning.

The National Standards for the Visual Arts are now GOALS that are clear, measurable, observable, and understandable to the students, parents, and community. The use of goals is to keep the mind open to the idea of learning and focused on the act of learning, By combining both declarative (mind) and procedural (application) knowledge the intentional actions are focused on the combination of art theory and art making and art critiquing as well as the reflection on the close relationships.

This final objective, standard, is the one that I find easiest to see how it relates to the outside world but, when in the classroom, I find it hardest to put up as a daily goal for the kids to reflect upon. I am REALLY looking for your input and thoughts on this one so… if you have a career that you can help me relate the ideas to – please chime in.


Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

As an art student you will demonstrate the ability to:

  • 6.1 compare aspects of the visual arts with aspects of other disciplines

Where can we, the artists, relate to the outside the artist world? This is a question that kids (and parents alike) ask frequently. “You can draw, GREAT! But where is it going to get you in life?” I would guess, and an educated one at that, that there are no major corporations that do not invest a portion of their yearly budget to creativity. “How can we look at our product from a different point of view?” “What can we do to make the design of the (insert product here) so that it is flashier, sharper, more appealing, better overall to the consumer?” Technology, virtual reality, the machines we rely on day in and day out, the lifestyle we all lead, the fashion we wear, drive, live in and with, require the mind of a creative person. How can we advance with only the academics at the front of education? The answer is, has been (all the way back to the days of Socrates and more recently Leonardo da Vinci – of the 1400’s are more recent), and always will be… we can’t.

  • 6.2 compare characteristics of the visual arts and other disciplines from history or movements

I find the characteristics of art movements easy to speak about, but as someone who is not a history buff or particularly well versed in world history, I struggle to find those connections between what the visual arts have done and what the world was going through. This is, however, a great place to make those connections. We recently wrapped up a Fauvist Project in my Drawing 1 class where we looked at the works of the French Fauvists (1905) and saw how they abandon the Romantic Tradition of the portrait and landscape on favor of the color explosion of the “Wild Beasts.” We also looked at the current culture most of the kids in class (all but one had taken some sore of goofy cell phone photograph of themselves sticking out their tongue or looking cross-eyed at the camera and they created soft pastel portraits based on art history and their own current cultures and social behaviors. This was a great way for them to relate to the arts of the past and to get a bit of knowledge about the history of the time… more about French social time of the era but… next time.

  • 6.3 use the principles and techniques of art with those from other discipline

How can we use the ideas and practices that artists use and mix them with those from other disciplines? Math, Science, History, World Languages, Engineering, Design, Architecture, Dance, Theater… and the list goes on. One of the more important lessons I work to teach is that the visual arts the students learn in our classroom are NOT limited to the walls of that classroom. This seems silly, but when I often see collages and paintings done in classes outside of the arts, some of my very students forget the lessons in color theory, perspective, facial proportions, and even good composition and design and fall back to the days of the elementary artist. If it were intentionally, I could appreciate the effort to forget all the training that was done to make them stronger and more successful artists. That said, not a one of them has the deliberateness behind their marks as Pablo Picasso did as he said “When I was the age of these children, I could draw like Raphael: it took me many years to learn how to draw like these children.” Nope, they just made poor and rushed attempts. For a student to know that they can and should use all of the lessons about the elements and principles of design and art and put them to use in the academics and the rest of their life – truly lifelong learners they will be.


Lastly, once you open the door to learning  you also need to close it.  During the last couple of minutes of my classes, we take time to reflect, to GENERALIZE the relationship to the goals and the day’s work / lessons onto what the students know or think they know about the world / practice of the arts. This is the CLOSING THE FOLDER that allows the brain to settle down and pack away the learning, the experiences, until the following day.

You can find these ideas (and more of my thoughts and other individuals thoughts) in my Visual Arts Handbook HERE.

Thanks –


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