I was an art teacher for 10 years. Most people think art teachers just teach painting, drawing and "coloring". I decided that I would not live up to that stereotype from the very beginning. I decided to teach children that art was SO MUCH MORE. I also believe in teaching adults this same concept. Adults often tell me they can't draw when they find out I create art. I instantly say "you can draw, you just didn't have the right teacher".
I say this because
- Everyone can draw, though it may not look like what they "think" it should look like.
- Art is not just about drawing. It's interesting to me that most adults instantly connect art with being able to draw. An exceptional art teacher would have had them see that art is not just drawing.
Let me be that exceptional art teacher for a moment please: Art is everywhere and is everything. If it weren't for the artists of the world, we would only have what is in nature. Seriously. Think about it. From the clothes you wear, to the car you drive, to the place you live: Artists designed them ALL.
I wish I would have understood this concept when I was trying to make my parental figures understand why I wanted to switch my college major to art long ago. Not that it mattered, as I paid for myself to go to school, but I still felt a need to make them understand how important art was to me. Their argument was that I could only teach art if I obtained my degree in it, therefore would never make any money (as that was their primary focus). I knew in my heart that art was what I was supposed to do, no matter what job resulted from it or financial gain came from it.
I did go on to teach art for a while, but it was only because I didn't see all the other things you could do with a background in art. When I started teaching in a classroom, I received a poster from a magazine company that listed the numerous careers that an artist could have. I started to review this poster with my students often. Then I started making them connect art to everything. I didn't want them growing up to think they could only teach with a degree in art.
Every six weeks, I started giving my students a "Be Creative" center day, where I would provide games, puppets, dress-up, puzzles, building blocks, drawing paper, and more. Students were allowed to chose whatever center they wanted to do for the entire class period. They were allowed to switch centers as often as they liked as well. The only rule: They had to be able to tell me how their center was related to art. I gave them their points for the day if they could do it. For the first half of the year, I gave them some prompts before centers began to help them start understanding the process, but by the second half of the year, I had students in grades K-5 be able to tell me the following:
- The card games had lines on them (element of art)
- The puppets were colorful (element of art)
- The clothes for dress-up were designed by artists, or were colorful, or had texture (elements of art)
- The building blocks were forms (element of art)
- The drawings they drew had shapes in them or, they filled up the negative space (element of art)
- and more!
The students really understood the connection between art and everything they played with. We would also sometimes talk about how their homes, cars and uniforms were all designed by artists. Whether or not many of them remember these exercises I did with them, I may not ever know. But, I truly hope I helped etch a tiny memory into their minds that art was more than drawing.
Today I am asking for you to help me out and thank an artist today.
Artists are a very doubtful group. They often second guess themselves, often think that what they create isn't good enough and sometimes give up all together because they never receive any encouragement from anyone. If you know an artist or a creator in your life, thank them. Encourage them to keep going. Acknowledge that what they do is important. Artists are needed to make the world a more beautiful place, as well as to create your cars, houses, jewelry, TV shows, clothes, furniture, video games, appliances, music, books, and the list could go on and on and on........
Side note: The first 3 seconds of this video (about how a car is designed) interestingly states "It all begins with a blank sheet of paper" and shows an artist drawing out a design for a car. Artist point proven for car design in 3 seconds. YES. :)