The Art Student (and the lessons you can learn)

“I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” ― Robert Henri

What a great day at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It has been FAR too long. Oh to get back into the looking at the visual arts (and a lot of it at that). I was very happy to have changed my approach and began with the European Art from the Baroque era and worked my way forward. Of course, I ended in the Bradley Collection with a look at the Alex Katz painting of “Sunny” but… it wouldn’t be a trip to MAM if I didn’t end there.

As an art teacher, I look to Robert Henri as one of THE art teachers to look up to. Color Theory, Art Theory, Aesthetics, History, Art Making… if one knows me, the ideas behind the art are as (if not more) important than the final product itself. Here you go… and if you are an art student, her you are…

10 Things the Arts Teach Students

1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.
Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it
is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution
and that questions can have more than one answer.

3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives.
One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving
purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity.
Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.

5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.

6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects.
The arts traffic in subtleties.

7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
All art forms employ some means through which images become real.

8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said.
When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source
and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.

10. The arts’ position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young
what adults believe is important.

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