What you need to know about culture and arts education

arts education

Despite the obvious essential linkages between culture and education, they are still not sufficiently integrated into education policies and school curricula in many countries globally. These two fields are often considered as separate policy entities and trajectories. Culture and arts education, the result of the two complementary ecosystems, has the potential to bridge this gap.

UNESCO convened the World Conference on Culture and Arts Education in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 13 to 15 February 2024 where the first-ever global framework in this area was adopted. Here is what you need to know about this essential issue. 

Why is culture and arts education essential?

Learners engaged in culture and arts education have better academic and non-academic learning outcomes.  Engagement in various art forms , such as music, dance, and visual arts, can enhance academic achievements, reading skills, creative and critical thinking, agility and collaboration skills. Engagement in such education also correlates with improved attendance, stress reduction, resilience, perseverance, and classroom behaviours.

Culture and arts education expands the essence of learning and makes it fun by going beyond classrooms and traditional educational approaches from lifelong learning, to technical and vocational education and training (TVET).  The theatre stage can be a learning space, NFT art can be a promising career, and indigenous ways of knowing and being can, and should, find their way in the curriculum.

Culture and arts education makes learning meaningful by connecting rural with urban, local with global. It plays a crucial role in valorizing and preserving one’s own culture, heritage and traditions while at the same time reflecting on them in the modern world, in the digital era, understanding everyone’s contribution and uniqueness. 

What are the forms culture and arts education can take?

Culture and arts education encompasses learning about, in and through culture and the arts. Therefore, it can occur across subjects, at all levels of education and in various settings. For example, this process is no longer confined to classrooms: museums, art galleries, libraries and cultural heritage sites are considered equal places of learning, whereas artists, cultural professionals and practitioners play an essential role in transmitting knowledge. Culture and arts education engages learners with built and natural heritage, living expressions, and the cultural and creative industries, promoting intercultural dialogue and linguistic diversity, both online and offline.

By incorporating indigenous knowledge and practices, arts education validates and enlivens diverse cultural perspectives. In Indonesia, school students on Java Island can learn more about their heritage from arts education programmes that familiarize them with the traditional art of shadow puppet storytelling called  wayang kulit , from UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list. 

How can culture and arts education build skills for the future?

Culture and arts education opens up new employment opportunities.  50 million jobs are created by cultural and creative industries worldwide, and more young people are now employed in the sector than in any other economic activity. While not its primary focus,  culture and arts education cultivates skills such as observation, collaboration, and reflection that are conducive to creativity and adaptability, which are increasingly valued in the modern job market. 

It also builds vital socio-emotional skills to thrive in the world of tomorrow. Research shows that such education fosters compassion for others and empathy. It allows learners to introspect, take different perspectives and develop different ways of understanding the world. Participation in arts activities has also been linked to higher civic engagement, social tolerance, and respectful behaviours towards diversity. 

How can culture and arts education contribute to peace and sustainability?

By connecting local with global and fostering dialogue among generations and cultures, culture and arts education can contribute to peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies. It also offers transformative avenues for reimagining ways of living harmoniously with the earth and preserving social cohesion, which is paramount during times of interrelated global challenges, such as social isolation or environmental crises. For example, freely accessible digitized archives of the leading museums helped learners in different parts of the world connect with other cultures and enrich their learning experiences.

How does arts education address socioeconomic disparities in education?

Integrating culture and arts education into education systems  can help bridge the achievement gap between higher and lower-income students. Research indicates that students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who engage in arts education demonstrate higher academic performance, graduation rates, and motivation to pursue further education.

Culture and arts education can unveil new opportunities and career paths for learners of all ages. For example, technical and vocational education and training in arts and crafts could be a critical social lift, opening new employment opportunities in the context of persisting social inequalities and crises. For example,  UNESCO’s Transcultura program me awards scholarships to young cultural professionals in 17 countries so that they can gain new skills and pursue careers in cultural and creative industries. 

What is the role of UNESCO?

Since its creation, UNESCO has been championing major forward-looking policy transformation processes in culture and education, reaffirming them as global public goods at the forefront of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Some of the key highlights include the UNESCO  MONDIACULT Conference, initiatives within the  Transforming Education Summit and the revision of  the Recommendation on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Sustainable Development.

As a logical next step after the adoption of the 2006 Lisbon Road Map on Arts Education and the 2010 Seoul Agenda, UNESCO convened the  World Conference on Culture and Arts Education to mobilize political commitment around culture and arts education as a powerful lever to transform learning and shape critical skills for future generations. 

As a result of the Conference, UNESCO Member States adopted the new UNESCO Framework on Culture and Arts Education . This guidance document provides a set of principles all stakeholders can follow for shaping and further institutionalizing culture and arts education. It outlines specific goals such education should pursue and concrete dimensions where synergetic links between culture and education should be fostered for the benefit of all learners.

  • World Conference on Culture and Arts Education  
  • UNESCO’s work on  Culture and Education  

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The Benefits of Arts Education for K-12 Students

While arts programs often fall victim to budget cuts, they can be an important contributor to students' success at school.

Benefits of Arts Education

Shot of a young schoolboy in an art class

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Just like after-school sports programs allow students to learn skills not necessarily taught in the classroom, like teamwork and self-discipline, the arts provide students with broad opportunities for growth outside of strictly academic pursuits.

Your child’s art class involves a lot more than just the Crayola marker scribble-scrabble that will end up hanging on your refrigerator.

“Good arts education is not about the product,” says Jamie Kasper, director of the Arts Education Partnership and a former music teacher. “It is about the process of learning.”

Policymakers, school administrators and parents alike may overlook the significance of arts education, but these programs can be a crucial component of your child’s school life. Whether they're practicing lines for a school play or cutting up magazine scraps for a collage, children can use art to tap into their creative side and hone skills that might not be the focus of other content areas, including communication, fine motor skills and emotional intelligence.

“Sometimes folks who are not involved in the arts focus on the product without realizing that that is not the most important part of what we do,” Kasper says.

While arts programs often fall victim to budget cuts, they can be an important contributor to students' overall success at school. Arts education can help kids:

  • Engage with school and reduce stress.
  • Develop social-emotional and interpersonal skills.
  • Enrich their experiences.
  • Handle constructive criticism.
  • Bolster academic achievement.
  • Improve focus.

Engage With School and Reduce Stress

Kasper says she often hears from other educators that art programs are one of the main factors that motivate children to come to school.

"If they don't want to come to school, you're never going to get them," she says. "So why wouldn't you do that thing that makes them want to come to school, that also teaches them these really great skills?"

Michelle Schroeder, the president of the New York State Art Teachers Association and a high school animation teacher, seconds this. She says the arts allow students an opportunity to have fun throughout the day without having to worry so much about the stressors of other content areas. And this is backed by research, too – some studies have shown that the arts, from drama to dance , can have therapeutic effects.

"It's that part of their day where they can have fun and just play with materials, and really not have to worry about the answers on their tests," Schroeder says.

Develop Social-Emotional and Interpersonal Skills

Participating in arts programs – particularly those that focus on more collaborative forms like theater and music – is a good way for students to sharpen their communication and social-emotional skills, experts say.

Camille Farrington, managing director and senior research associate at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, says art classes offer students opportunities to interact with their fellow students in a constructive and creative manner, a process that fuels their social and emotional development. For example, one study published in the Journal of Primary Prevention found that students in low-income schools who participated in an after-school dance program tended to experience heightened self-esteem and social skills.

Building those skills is more important than ever after the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Denise Grail Brandenburg, arts education specialist and team lead at the National Endowment for the Arts. “Arts education can support the social and emotional learning needs of students," Brandenburg wrote in an email, "including helping students learn to manage their emotions and have compassion for others.”

Kasper also says that even with somewhat solitary artistic endeavors like painting or drawing, the act of perfecting one’s technique allows students to come up with creative ways to express and communicate their viewpoints.

“You teach the fundamentals of making the art ... – your instrument, your voice, your body in motion, painting, sculpture, whatever it is – so that students can then take those skills and use them to communicate more effectively,” she says.

Enrich Their Experiences

Human beings have practiced various art forms to express themselves since the dawn of their existence.

“Art immensely improves and enriches the lives of young people,” Farrington says. “It's a core part of being a human being and human history and culture.”

For kids in low-income neighborhoods, where residents may have less access to art and cultural resources that can improve quality of life , school arts programs are especially important. An analysis from the National Endowment for the Arts, drawing on data from four longitudinal studies, found that students with high levels of arts involvement had more positive outcomes in a variety of areas, from high school graduation rates to civic participation.

Just like after-school sports programs allow students to learn skills not necessarily taught in the classroom, like teamwork and self-discipline, Farrington says the arts provide students with broad opportunities for growth outside of strictly academic pursuits.

"One of the things that's really critical to young people of all ages ... is the opportunity to explore a wide variety of different kinds of activities," Farrington says. "Some of them are going to gravitate to one thing, and some are going to gravitate to another thing, but they can't gravitate to them if they've never experienced them."

Handle Constructive Criticism

Unlike many other school subjects, in which questions often have one specific answer, the arts allow for students to come up with a nearly unlimited variety of final products. This means that art teachers often give feedback a little bit differently, particularly with older students.

“They're teaching something and then immediately asking students to demonstrate that skill in a really authentic way, which is different from going to teach something and three months later giving students a test,” Kasper says.

Schroeder says that art teachers typically provide their students with highly individualized, constructive criticism. This allows students to learn how to gracefully receive a critique and respond to it, she says, explaining how and why they developed the artwork that they did.

“In so much of their careers and their future, people are either going to criticize or they're going to suggest improvements, and our students need to become comfortable with receiving feedback from other people,” she says. “So many experiences that they’ll have in an art classroom give them the opportunity to feel what it’s like to have someone question them. There's so much dialogue that happens in the classroom.”

Bolster Academic Achievement

While Farrington says that making art for art’s sake ought to be sufficient justification for school arts programs, research has also shown that arts education can lead to academic gains.

For example, a 2005 study on the impact of a comprehensive arts curriculum in Columbus, Ohio, public schools found that students with the arts program scored higher on statewide tests in math, science and citizenship than students from control schools. This effect was even greater for students from low-income schools. In the NEA analysis, socially and economically disadvantaged children with significant arts education had better academic outcomes – including higher grades and test scores and higher rates of graduation and college enrollment – than their peers without arts involvement.

Different disciplines also provide their own specific cognitive benefits – for example, participating in dance has been shown to sharpen young children's spatial awareness , while making music can help students develop their working memory .

Improve Focus

In addition to the specific benefits of each individual art practice, Kasper says that across the board, the arts are a good way for students to learn impulse control.

Intuitively, it makes sense that the act of concentrating in order to perfect one's craft can help an individual develop the ability to focus closely on other things as well. Research has shown that training in the arts also helps students hone their ability to pay closer attention and practice self-control. In 2009, researchers at the Dana Foundation , which funds neuroscience research and programming, posited based on multiple studies that training in the arts stimulates and strengthens the brain's attention system.

"That's something that I think we forget that kids have to learn," Kasper says.

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Creativity and Academics: The Power of an Arts Education

Increased self-confidence and self-understanding, enhanced communication skills, and improved cognition are among the many reasons for teaching the arts.

A female teen is sitting in an art class, holding a long paint brush, painting on a canvas.

The arts are as important as academics, and they should be treated that way in school curriculum. This is what we believe and practice at New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA). While the positive impact of the arts on academic achievement is worthwhile in itself, it's also the tip of the iceberg when looking at the whole child. Learning art goes beyond creating more successful students. We believe that it creates more successful human beings.

NMSA is built upon a dual arts and academic curriculum. Our teachers, students, and families all hold the belief that both arts and academics are equally important. Our goal is to prepare students for professional careers in the arts, while also equipping them with the skills and content knowledge necessary to succeed in college. From our personal experience ( and research ), here are five benefits of an arts education:

1. Growth Mindset

Through the arts, students develop skills like resilience, grit, and a growth mindset to help them master their craft, do well academically, and succeed in life after high school. (See Embracing Failure: Building a Growth Mindset Through the Arts and Mastering Self-Assessment: Deepening Independent Learning Through the Arts .) Ideally, this progression will happen naturally, but often it can be aided by the teacher. By setting clear expectations and goals for students and then drawing the correlation between the work done and the results, students can begin to shift their motivation, resulting in a much healthier and more sustainable learning environment.

For students to truly grow and progress, there has to be a point when intrinsic motivation comes into balance with extrinsic motivation. In the early stages of learning an art form, students engage with the activity because it's fun (intrinsic motivation). However, this motivation will allow them to progress only so far, and then their development begins to slow -- or even stop. At this point, lean on extrinsic motivation to continue your students' growth. This can take the form of auditions, tests, or other assessments. Like the impact of early intrinsic motivation, this kind of engagement will help your students grow and progress. While both types of motivation are helpful and productive, a hybrid of the two is most successful. Your students will study or practice not only for the external rewards, but also because of the self-enjoyment or satisfaction this gives them.

2. Self-Confidence

A number of years ago, I had a student enter my band program who would not speak. When asked a question, she would simply look at me. She loved being in band, but she would not play. I wondered why she would choose to join an activity while refusing to actually do the activity. Slowly, through encouragement from her peers and myself, a wonderful young person came out from under her insecurities and began to play. And as she learned her instrument, I watched her transform into not only a self-confident young lady and an accomplished musician, but also a student leader. Through the act of making music, she overcame her insecurities and found her voice and place in life.

3. Improved Cognition

Research connects learning music to improved "verbal memory, second language pronunciation accuracy, reading ability, and executive functions" in youth ( Frontiers in Neuroscience ). By immersing students in arts education, you draw them into an incredibly complex and multifaceted endeavor that combines many subject matters (like mathematics, history, language, and science) while being uniquely tied to culture.

For example, in order for a student to play in tune, he must have a scientific understanding of sound waves and other musical acoustics principles. Likewise, for a student to give an inspired performance of Shakespeare, she must understand social, cultural, and historical events of the time. The arts are valuable not only as stand-alone subject matter, but also as the perfect link between all subject matters -- and a great delivery system for these concepts, as well. You can see this in the correlation between drawing and geometry, or between meter and time signatures and math concepts such as fractions .

4. Communication

One can make an argument that communication may be the single most important aspect of existence. Our world is built through communication. Students learn a multitude of communication skills by studying the arts. Through the very process of being in a music ensemble, they must learn to verbally, physically, and emotionally communicate with their peers, conductor, and audience. Likewise, a cast member must not only communicate the spoken word to an audience, but also the more intangible underlying emotions of the script. The arts are a mode of expression that transforms thoughts and emotions into a unique form of communication -- art itself.

5. Deepening Cultural and Self-Understanding

While many find the value of arts education to be the ways in which it impacts student learning, I feel the learning of art is itself a worthwhile endeavor. A culture without art isn’t possible. Art is at the very core of our identity as humans. I feel that the greatest gift we can give students -- and humanity -- is an understanding, appreciation, and ability to create art.

What are some of the benefits of an arts education that you have noticed with your students?

New Mexico School for the Arts

Per pupil expenditures, free / reduced lunch, demographics:.

This post is part of our Schools That Work series, which features key practices from New Mexico School for the Arts .

New evidence of the benefits of arts education

Subscribe to the brown center on education policy newsletter, brian kisida and bk brian kisida assistant professor, truman school of public affairs - university of missouri @briankisida daniel h. bowen dhb daniel h. bowen assistant professor, college of education and human development - texas a&m university @_dhbowen.

February 12, 2019

Engaging with art is essential to the human experience. Almost as soon as motor skills are developed, children communicate through artistic expression. The arts challenge us with different points of view, compel us to empathize with “others,” and give us the opportunity to reflect on the human condition. Empirical evidence supports these claims: Among adults, arts participation is related to behaviors that contribute to the health of civil society , such as increased civic engagement, greater social tolerance, and reductions in other-regarding behavior. Yet, while we recognize art’s transformative impacts, its place in K-12 education has become increasingly tenuous.

A critical challenge for arts education has been a lack of empirical evidence that demonstrates its educational value. Though few would deny that the arts confer intrinsic benefits, advocating “art for art’s sake” has been insufficient for preserving the arts in schools—despite national surveys showing an overwhelming majority of the public agrees that the arts are a necessary part of a well-rounded education.

Over the last few decades, the proportion of students receiving arts education has shrunk drastically . This trend is primarily attributable to the expansion of standardized-test-based accountability, which has pressured schools to focus resources on tested subjects. As the saying goes, what gets measured gets done. These pressures have disproportionately affected access to the arts in a negative way for students from historically underserved communities. For example, a federal government report found that schools designated under No Child Left Behind as needing improvement and schools with higher percentages of minority students were more likely to experience decreases in time spent on arts education.

We recently conducted the first ever large-scale, randomized controlled trial study of a city’s collective efforts to restore arts education through community partnerships and investments. Building on our previous investigations of the impacts of enriching arts field trip experiences, this study examines the effects of a sustained reinvigoration of schoolwide arts education. Specifically, our study focuses on the initial two years of Houston’s Arts Access Initiative and includes 42 elementary and middle schools with over 10,000 third- through eighth-grade students. Our study was made possible by generous support of the Houston Endowment , the National Endowment for the Arts , and the Spencer Foundation .

Due to the program’s gradual rollout and oversubscription, we implemented a lottery to randomly assign which schools initially participated. Half of these schools received substantial influxes of funding earmarked to provide students with a vast array of arts educational experiences throughout the school year. Participating schools were required to commit a monetary match to provide arts experiences. Including matched funds from the Houston Endowment, schools in the treatment group had an average of $14.67 annually per student to facilitate and enhance partnerships with arts organizations and institutions. In addition to arts education professional development for school leaders and teachers, students at the 21 treatment schools received, on average, 10 enriching arts educational experiences across dance, music, theater, and visual arts disciplines. Schools partnered with cultural organizations and institutions that provided these arts learning opportunities through before- and after-school programs, field trips, in-school performances from professional artists, and teaching-artist residencies. Principals worked with the Arts Access Initiative director and staff to help guide arts program selections that aligned with their schools’ goals.

Our research efforts were part of a multisector collaboration that united district administrators, cultural organizations and institutions, philanthropists, government officials, and researchers. Collective efforts similar to Houston’s Arts Access Initiative have become increasingly common means for supplementing arts education opportunities through school-community partnerships. Other examples include Boston’s Arts Expansion Initiative , Chicago’s Creative Schools Initiative , and Seattle’s Creative Advantage .

Through our partnership with the Houston Education Research Consortium, we obtained access to student-level demographics, attendance and disciplinary records, and test score achievement, as well as the ability to collect original survey data from all 42 schools on students’ school engagement and social and emotional-related outcomes.

We find that a substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes. Relative to students assigned to the control group, treatment school students experienced a 3.6 percentage point reduction in disciplinary infractions, an improvement of 13 percent of a standard deviation in standardized writing scores, and an increase of 8 percent of a standard deviation in their compassion for others. In terms of our measure of compassion for others, students who received more arts education experiences are more interested in how other people feel and more likely to want to help people who are treated badly.

When we restrict our analysis to elementary schools, which comprised 86 percent of the sample and were the primary target of the program, we also find that increases in arts learning positively and significantly affect students’ school engagement, college aspirations, and their inclinations to draw upon works of art as a means for empathizing with others. In terms of school engagement, students in the treatment group were more likely to agree that school work is enjoyable, makes them think about things in new ways, and that their school offers programs, classes, and activities that keep them interested in school. We generally did not find evidence to suggest significant impacts on students’ math, reading, or science achievement, attendance, or our other survey outcomes, which we discuss in our full report .

As education policymakers increasingly rely on empirical evidence to guide and justify decisions, advocates struggle to make the case for the preservation and restoration of K-12 arts education. To date, there is a remarkable lack of large-scale experimental studies that investigate the educational impacts of the arts. One problem is that U.S. school systems rarely collect and report basic data that researchers could use to assess students’ access and participation in arts educational programs. Moreover, the most promising outcomes associated with arts education learning objectives extend beyond commonly reported outcomes such as math and reading test scores. There are strong reasons to suspect that engagement in arts education can improve school climate, empower students with a sense of purpose and ownership, and enhance mutual respect for their teachers and peers. Yet, as educators and policymakers have come to recognize the importance of expanding the measures we use to assess educational effectiveness, data measuring social and emotional benefits are not widely collected. Future efforts should continue to expand on the types of measures used to assess educational program and policy effectiveness.

These findings provide strong evidence that arts educational experiences can produce significant positive impacts on academic and social development. Because schools play a pivotal role in cultivating the next generation of citizens and leaders, it is imperative that we reflect on the fundamental purpose of a well-rounded education. This mission is critical in a time of heightened intolerance and pressing threats to our core democratic values. As policymakers begin to collect and value outcome measures beyond test scores, we are likely to further recognize the value of the arts in the fundamental mission of education.

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What is Art Education: Exploring its Purpose and Impact

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What is Art Education

What is Art Education

Are you curious about the power of art education? Have you ever wondered why it’s so important to have art in the classroom?

In this article, we will explore what is art education. From its benefits on individual growth and development to its ability to prepare students for life and work, we will dive into the fascinating world of art education .

Join us on this journey as we discover the true value of art education and how it can make a difference in students’ lives everywhere. Get ready to be inspired and amazed!

Key Takeaways

  • Art education covers a wide range of visual and performing arts disciplines.
  • The main goal is to teach students the creation, production, and appreciation of various art forms.
  • Art education promotes creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Table of contents

The Disciplines in Art Education

The Disciplines in Art Education

Art education encompasses a variety of disciplines that involve learning, instruction, and programming based on visual and tangible arts.

It includes performing arts such as dance, music, theatre, and visual arts like drawing, painting, sculpture, and design.

Art education aims to teach students how to create, produce, and appreciate various art forms, as well as to understand and evaluate the work of others.

Through art education, students are exposed to diverse artistic practices, where they can develop their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Furthermore, it provides opportunities to explore cultural heritage and appreciate the importance of creativity in society.

Integrating arts into education allows learners to express themselves and discover their talents.

Understanding Art Education

Students in art class-Why is Art Education Important in Schools

Art education is a vital educational experience that fosters creativity and artistic expression and offers various cognitive and emotional benefits.

It prepares students for the challenges in life by enhancing their problem-solving skills, visual-spatial abilities, and collaboration capabilities.

Incorporating arts in education allows you to explore your creative potential while providing a foundation for understanding various art forms.

Whether it is music, dance, visual arts, or theatre, arts education is crucial in broadening your perspective and nurturing your imagination.

As you delve deeper into the art world, you will learn that it is a powerful medium to express emotions, thoughts, and ideas, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers.

The essence of arts learning lies in its ability to facilitate the acquisition of artistic skills and instil a sense of appreciation for diverse art forms.

This helps you better understand various cultures, traditions, and histories, fostering empathy and respect for others.

Moreover, exploring, creating, and appreciating art can be therapeutic, enabling you to manage stress and emotional turmoil effectively.

To sum up, understanding art education is vital for holistic personal growth, encompassing cognitive, emotional, and social development.

So, embrace the world of arts, experience art education’s benefits , and appreciate the richness it brings to your life.

Importance of Art Education

Importance of Art Education

Art education is crucial in fostering creativity and promoting a well-rounded learning experience.

As you explore the importance of art education , you will find numerous benefits that contribute to the overall development of every student.

One of the primary reasons art education is essential is because it helps students engage with school and reduce stress.

Participating in various art forms, you can experience a sense of accomplishment, personal growth, and a deeper connection with your emotions.

This engagement enhances your learning experience and helps you better manage stress.

Incorporating art education into your curriculum aids in developing social-emotional and interpersonal skills .

Through artistic expression, you learn to communicate effectively, work collaboratively with others, and build empathy toward diverse perspectives.

These skills are essential for success in both personal and professional life.

A robust arts-learning environment enriches your educational experience by stimulating critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Art education challenges you to view the world differently and develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

This exposure to diverse art forms fosters cognitive flexibility and adaptability, which are highly valued in today’s fast-paced world.

Partaking in art education equips you to handle constructive criticism. In the creative process, receiving feedback and refining your work is integral.

By embracing constructive criticism, you develop resilience and learn to persevere in facing challenges.

In conclusion, art education is vital to creating a well-rounded academic experience.

With numerous benefits, ranging from stress reduction to the development of interpersonal skills, it is clear that art education plays an essential role in every student’s overall growth.

Pedagogy in Art Education

Best Colleges for Art Teacher Education

As an art educator, your primary role is to foster the development of creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills in students.

Pedagogy in art education is vital to this role, as it outlines the methods and techniques used to teach art in a K-12 setting.

Choice-based pedagogy is a popular approach in art education, where you, as the art teacher, design learning activities that support students as artists and provide them with authentic choices to respond to their ideas and interests through art-making  [1] .

This approach encourages student autonomy, allowing them to explore various materials and techniques and their artistic visions.

Another critical aspect to consider in your pedagogy is culturally responsive teaching. As an art teacher, you must acknowledge and respect the diverse backgrounds of your students.

By incorporating their unique cultural experiences into your teaching and adapting your methods to ensure that all students can connect with the material, you are contributing to an inclusive art education environment.

This can be done by showcasing diverse artists, discussing various art forms from different cultures, and incorporating culturally relevant themes into projects  [2] .

You should also strongly understand discipline-specific knowledge and techniques to teach art effectively.

Your coursework and professional development should emphasize art history , contemporary artistic practices, and various media and materials.

This helps you introduce students to a wide range of artists and movements, enabling them to critically engage with the world of art.

As a teaching artist, you may also work in community settings, collaborating with schools, museums, or other organizations to bring art education experiences to various age groups and populations.

Your pedagogy might need to be flexible while working as a teaching artist, adapting to the unique needs and goals of each project or setting.

Collaboration and community engagement become essential elements of your teaching approach in these contexts.

Remember, your pedagogy in art education should be confident, knowledgeable, and clear, reflecting your dedication to fostering creative growth in your students while remaining attentive to their needs and backgrounds.

Doing so contributes to developing a new generation of artists and creative thinkers.

The Role of Art Educators

Art Teacher and Students

As an art educator, your primary responsibility is to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of the visual and tangible arts.

This includes teaching various art forms such as drawing, painting, sculpture, and design works and performing arts like dance, music, and theatre  [3] .

Your role goes beyond teaching the techniques and skills required to create art. It would help if you also instilled in your students an appreciation for and understanding of the cultural , historical , and social contexts in which different art forms have evolved.

This helps students develop critical thinking abilities and better comprehend the significance of art in society.

In addition to being knowledgeable in your subject matter, as an art educator, you should cultivate a creative and supportive learning environment for your students.

This includes encouraging experimentation, curiosity, and self-expression while providing constructive feedback to help students grow as artists.

Actively engaging in arts advocacy is another crucial aspect of your role as an art educator.

You can promote the value of art education by communicating its benefits to parents, school administrators, and community stakeholders, highlighting how it contributes to students’ overall engagement and achievement in school  National Art Education Association .

In summary, as an art educator, your role encompasses teaching a variety of art forms , nurturing creativity , fostering critical thinking , and advocating for the importance of an arts education in students’ lives.

Visual and Performing Arts

Visual and Performing Arts

You’ll explore various disciplines in art education, including visual, performing, media , and  contemporary art .

These fields allow you to understand creative expression better and develop your artistic abilities.

Visual art encompasses traditional fine arts such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and sculpture.

You’ll also delve into media arts involving film, graphic communications, animation, and emerging technologies.

The curriculum includes architectural, environmental, and industrial skills like urban, interior, and product design [5] .

On the other hand, performing arts consist of disciplines like theatre, dance, and music. These fields emphasize movement, expression, and storytelling, often utilizing the human body as the primary instrument.

Similarly, media arts focus on the fusion of technology and artistic mediums, like film, sound, and digital art .

Contemporary art is a vital aspect of art education as it helps you examine the current trends and societal issues shaping today’s art world.

This can involve exploring the works of present-day artists, situating them within a broader cultural context, and critically analyzing their messages and methodologies.

Ultimately, by studying visual and performing arts, you will foster your critical thinking and creative skills, preparing you to contribute to the global art community.

Art Education Programs

Art Education Programs

Art education programs play a crucial role in developing well-rounded students.

As a part of these programs, you’ll find courses encompassing various disciplines such as dance, music, theatre, and visual arts like drawing, painting, sculpture, and design works.

A  Master of Arts  degree in art education can help you advance your career and acquire expertise in art theory, practice, and pedagogy, enabling you to transform learning through creative engagement.

An art education program can give you the knowledge and skills to become an effective teacher and advocate for arts education in K-12 schools, community arts organizations, and other educational settings.

Many  art education programs  focus on building stronger communities and fostering strategic alliances that propel the arts forward as a solution.

As the demand for art education rises, it is essential to understand the benefits it offers to students.

When considering the different art education programs available, some focus on community arts, while others prioritize education in specific disciplines.

In  community arts programs , participants often collaborate on art projects, emphasizing community involvement and social change. These programs aim to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Art education often plays a vital role in graduation programs, with many states having arts requirements for high school graduation.

This ensures that students are exposed to various art forms during their education, helping them appreciate diverse perspectives and enhance their creativity.

Enrolling in a reputed  art school  can help you access top-notch facilities, dedicated faculty members experienced in various art forms, and networks of fellow artists and creative professionals.

In summary, art education programs provide comprehensive exposure to the arts, building a solid foundation for creativity and critical thinking.

Participating in these programs contributes to developing your artistic skills and overall personal and intellectual growth.

Arts Integration in Education

Arts Integration in Education

Arts integration is a teaching approach where content standards are taught and assessed equitably in and through the arts.

Through this interdisciplinary method, you can effectively incorporate multiple disciplines into your learning environments, enriching the core curriculum and enhancing students’ overall educational experience.

In an arts-integrated classroom, students construct and demonstrate understanding through various art forms.

This creative process connects an art form with another subject area, meeting evolving objectives and fostering a well-rounded educational experience.

For instance, you could combine visual arts with mathematics, helping students grasp geometric concepts in a hands-on, engaging way.

As a teacher looking to implement arts integration, collaboration is critical. Start by meeting with other educators to plan lessons using backward design.

This method focuses on the desired outcome, like your culminating event, exhibition, or final artwork , and builds the curriculum to achieve that goal.

This approach ensures all subject areas are effectively woven together and essential content is included in the learning process.

Implementing arts integration in your classroom has several benefits. It offers an innovative way to engage students and provides opportunities for differentiated instruction, reaching students with varying learning styles and abilities.

Connecting subject areas through the arts can create a more inclusive, diverse, and stimulating learning environment for all students.

So, as you strive to create a more dynamic and comprehensive educational experience for your students, consider exploring arts integration in your curriculum.

By merging multiple disciplines and fostering creativity, you can empower students and make learning more engaging, diverse, and meaningful.

Student Outcomes in Art Education

What is Arts Education

In art education, students experience various improvements in their learning outcomes.

By participating in arts programs, students can develop their ability to think creatively and critically, solve problems, and work effectively in teams.

When students engage in art education, they can nurture their creative thinking. Creative thinking is essential for creating innovative solutions to problems and uniquely expressing one’s ideas.

By honing their creative skills, students become more capable of generating new ideas and adapting to different situations.

Art education also fosters critical thinking abilities. As students analyze and interpret works of art, they learn to evaluate different perspectives, assess the quality of arguments, and make informed decisions.

This more profound understanding of artistic meaning helps students develop a more nuanced approach to interpreting the world around them.

Problem-solving is another critical learning outcome associated with art education. Students who engage in art projects often face complex challenges that require them to find solutions by experimenting with various techniques and materials.

Through this process, students become comfortable tackling complex problems, which can benefit them in other areas of their education and life.

Lastly, art education enhances teamwork skills. Many art projects require students to collaborate with others, either by working on a joint project or by critiquing each other’s work.

Students learn to communicate effectively , listen to others, and contribute to a larger goal by engaging in these collaborative activities.

Students can experience growth in these essential skills by participating in art education.

Creative thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork are all crucial outcomes of a well-rounded art education, providing students with a strong foundation for future success.

Art Practice and Learning Opportunities

Special Considerations for Art Education Teachers

Studio Practice

In art education, studio practice is a crucial component that enables you to develop your technical skills and artistic abilities.

Engaging in hands-on experiences within a studio allows you to explore various materials, techniques, and creative processes.

This active participation not only refines your skills but also fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.

Practical Experiences

Practical experiences in art education provide invaluable opportunities to apply your artistic knowledge in real-life situations.

These experiences can range from collaborating on group projects, participating in workshops, or attending masterclasses led by experienced artists.

Through these engagements, you gain insights into different perspectives, expand your creative horizons, and enhance your interpersonal skills.

Art Making and Creativity

Art-making and creativity go hand-in-hand in the realm of art education. By actively participating in creative activities, you develop a stronger sense of self-expression and expand your ability to generate innovative ideas.

Engaging in imaginative and artistic practice also promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and visual communication skills, which can benefit you in various aspects of life.

Embracing art-making and creativity fosters a lifelong love of learning and enriches your educational experience.

The Impact of Art Education on Early Childhood Development

Discovering Potential Through Art Education

In early childhood education, the integration of art plays a significant role in the development of young artists.

Art education can be especially beneficial in the early years, as it helps to develop a strong foundation for future learning and overall growth.

When you introduce young children to the art world, you help foster their social and emotional development .

Various studies have demonstrated the value of incorporating artistic practices into early childhood education programs  [6] .

Encouraging young learners to engage in imaginative activities can improve social interaction, self-expression, and emotional regulation skills.

It is essential to believe that art education provides a unique opportunity for children to explore their creativity and learn to appreciate the beauty in their surroundings.

Children develop a sense of curiosity and wonder that translates into a lifelong love of learning by participating in diverse artistic experiences, such as painting, drawing, sculpture, and music.

As you support your child’s artistic journey, consider providing various materials and opportunities for them to engage in creative exploration.

By offering a safe and nurturing environment where children can experiment and express themselves freely, you can develop critical skills such as problem-solving, spatial awareness, and fine motor coordination  [7] .

In conclusion, as an advocate for your child’s education, it is essential to consider the impact of art education on their early childhood development .

By embracing the power of creativity and artistic expression, you can ensure that your child experiences a well-rounded and enriching educational journey with a solid foundation for future success.

Art Education Beyond the Classroom

Art Education Beyond the Classroom

Art education is not confined to the walls of a classroom. Many opportunities for growth and development exist beyond traditional art education settings, such as museum education, arts organizations, and community arts programs.

Museums are a great place to expose yourself to various art forms and expand your understanding of different artistic styles and periods.

By participating in  museum education , you can enhance your appreciation for these masterpieces and gain a deeper connection to the cultures they represent.

While in-person art classes offer a distinct experience, joining art organizations can provide valuable knowledge and opportunities to network with other artists and professionals .

These groups often provide workshops, events, and resources to help you grow as an artist.

Community arts programs are another excellent way to pursue your artistic passions. Engaging in  community arts  helps bridge the gap between formal art education and everyday creative expression.

It is a chance for people of all ages and skill levels to collaborate, learn from each other, and make an impact in their local neighbourhoods.

Art education can also benefit non-arts fields by fostering creativity, problem-solving, and collaboration skills.

Brainstorming techniques, like collaborative sketching and mind-mapping, can be used across various industries to generate new ideas and improve decision-making.

Remember, art education is not just about painting and drawing; it is a flexible, powerful tool to help you develop your unique creative voice and become a better problem solver.

Take advantage of the opportunities available, explore new avenues, and let your art flourish beyond the classroom.

Future Perspectives in Art Education

Southern New Hampshire University

Art education plays a vital role in shaping the creative minds of the future.

With upcoming trends and advancements,  arts-based  methods are being integrated into various aspects of learning, ensuring a more comprehensive and innovative approach to education.

One key aspect of future perspectives in art education is how it prepares students for the evolving world.

Including artistic practices in curriculums allows them to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Engaging in creative arts fosters a deep understanding of different perspectives, promoting empathy and tolerance.

Moreover, the integration of new concepts and innovations in the field of art education will provide unique opportunities for students to thrive.

For instance, using digital technologies and online platforms can open doors to new methods of exploration and collaboration, enabling learners to connect with experts from various disciplines and backgrounds.

The embrace of technology in art education will significantly enhance how you approach creative projects, equipping you with the necessary tools to master emerging forms of artistic expression.

Furthermore, the future of art education aims to focus on the importance of art in addressing social and emotional well-being.

Research  indicates  that engaging in creative endeavours helps students express themselves safely and positively, ultimately benefiting their mental health.

In conclusion, as you embrace the future perspectives in art education, you stand to benefit from integrating arts-based methods, new concepts, and a focus on holistic development.

By being involved in this ever-evolving field, you will be better prepared for the challenges ahead, fostering creativity and innovation that can significantly impact the world.

Final Thoughts on What is Art Education

As we conclude our exploration of art education, we are left with a deep appreciation for the power of creativity and self-expression.

Art education is not just about learning how to draw or paint; it’s about developing critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, and empathy.

It’s about preparing students for a future where innovation and creativity are more crucial than ever before.

Art education can change the world by giving students the tools and skills they need to succeed in life and work.

So let us continue to support and advocate for art education, and let us never forget the profound impact it can have on individuals, communities, and society.

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what is creative arts education

what is creative arts in education

Expressive Education: Unveiling the World of Creative Arts in Learning

Table of Contents

Welcome to our insightful article on the role of creative arts in education. At Exquisitive Education, we firmly believe in the power of expressive education to enrich learning experiences for students of all ages. Creative arts, including music, visual arts, and dance, provide a unique and transformative approach to education.

Through the integration of creative arts in the curriculum, students are given the opportunity to explore their creativity, express themselves, and develop essential skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creative arts in education enhances learning experiences and enriches the educational journey for students of all ages.
  • Research shows that creative arts improve academic performance, foster critical thinking, and promote social-emotional development.
  • Expressive arts in music education offer an integrative and creative curriculum that goes beyond traditional performance-based approaches.
  • Engaging in creative arts activities promotes well-being, mental health, and self-expression.
  • Through creative arts, individuals can embark on a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and cultural appreciation.

Are you ready to dive into the world of expressive education and explore the incredible benefits of creative arts in learning? Join us as we delve deeper into this fascinating topic and discover how creative arts can shape a holistic and engaging educational experience.

The Benefits of Creative Arts in Education

Research has shown that incorporating creative arts into education has numerous benefits for students. The integration of creative arts in the curriculum not only enriches learning experiences but also contributes to the overall development of students.

Improvement in Academic Performance

Giving students opportunities to engage in creative arts activities enhances their academic performance. Studies have found that students involved in creative arts consistently demonstrate higher levels of achievement in core subjects such as math, science, and language arts. By integrating creative arts into the learning process, students can better understand and retain information, improving their comprehension and critical thinking skills.

Fosters Critical Thinking and Creativity

Creative arts education stimulates critical thinking and nurtures creativity in students. When engaged in artistic activities, students are encouraged to think outside the box, explore new ideas, and solve problems in innovative ways. Whether it’s through visual arts, music, or drama, creative arts allow students to express themselves, think critically, and develop their own unique perspectives.

Promotes Social-Emotional Development

The benefits of creative arts extend beyond academic performance and encompass social-emotional development. Engaging in creative arts activities provides students with a platform to express their emotions, build self-confidence, and develop empathy towards others. Whether painting a picture, playing an instrument, or participating in a theater production, creative arts enable students to explore and understand their own emotions as well as those of their peers.

Additionally, creative arts facilitate personal connections, promote self-reflection, and enhance communication skills, all of which are vital for healthy social interactions and relationships.

To fully understand the impact of creative arts in education, let’s take a closer look at some of the key benefits:

  • Improved academic performance : Creative arts education enhances students’ understanding, retention, and application of knowledge across various subjects.
  • Foster critical thinking and creativity : Engaging in creative arts activities stimulates students’ ability to think critically, innovate, and problem-solve.
  • Promote social-emotional development : Creative arts help students express emotions, develop empathy, and build positive relationships.

As educators, it is crucial to recognize the power of creative arts in education and incorporate them into the learning process. By doing so, we provide students with the tools they need to succeed academically, develop essential life skills, and become well-rounded individuals.

Explore the benefits of creative arts in education further with Exquisitive Education.

The Role of Expressive Arts in Music Education

Expressive arts play a crucial role in the field of music education, offering a creative and integrative curriculum that goes beyond the traditional emphasis on performance. In recognizing the significance of students’ creativity and their personal connection to music within their lives and culture, expressive arts provide a holistic approach to music education. By actively engaging students in expressive and creative arts experiences, music educators can foster curiosity, wellness, positive development, and social-emotional learning.

Integrating Expressive Arts into Music Education

Music education that incorporates expressive arts values the uniqueness of every student’s creative expression. It encourages students to explore various forms of artistic expression, such as visual arts, movement, and drama, alongside musical learning. This integrative approach allows students to broaden their understanding of music beyond the technical aspects and inspires them to connect deeply with the emotional and expressive aspects of music.

Expressive arts in music education also promote interdisciplinary learning, as students explore the intersection of music with other subjects like literature, history, and cultural studies. This interdisciplinary approach enriches students’ understanding of music’s role in society and expands their knowledge beyond the confines of a singular discipline.

Fostering Curiosity and Holistic Development

Engaging in expressive arts experiences within music education fosters curiosity and a sense of wonder within students. It encourages them to ask questions, explore new ideas, and think critically about the world around them. By incorporating creative and integrative approaches, music educators can create a dynamic learning environment that fuels students’ curiosity, promoting their holistic development.

Furthermore, expressive arts provide a platform for personal growth and self-expression. Through musical performances, improvisation, and composition, students can develop their unique voices and express their thoughts, emotions, and perspectives. This process enhances their self-confidence, self-esteem, and ability to communicate effectively.

Enhancing Social-Emotional Learning

Expressive arts in music education play a vital role in nurturing students’ social-emotional development. By engaging in collaborative creative projects, students learn the importance of teamwork, empathy, and respect for others’ ideas and contributions. The inclusive nature of expressive arts cultivates a supportive and inclusive classroom environment that celebrates diversity and promotes cross-cultural understanding.

Through creative expressions in music, students can also explore and process their own emotions, helping them develop emotional intelligence and self-awareness. This deeper understanding of oneself and others facilitates stronger interpersonal connections and empathy, which are essential skills for success in both academic and personal endeavors.

Using Creative Arts to Promote Well-being

Engaging in creative arts activities can have a profound impact on our well-being. The act of drawing, painting, or playing a musical instrument allows us to tap into our inner creativity and express ourselves in ways that words cannot always convey. In this section, we will explore how creative arts can promote mental health, reduce stress, and provide a channel for self-expression.

Stress Reduction through Creative Arts

One of the key benefits of engaging in creative arts is its ability to reduce stress. When we immerse ourselves in artistic activities, whether it’s sculpting clay or writing poetry, our focus shifts from the worries and demands of daily life to the present moment. This shift in attention helps to relax our mind and body, relieving stress and tension.

The act of creating art also activates the release of endorphins, which are natural chemicals in our brain that promote feelings of pleasure and well-being. These endorphins act as natural stress-relievers, helping to reduce anxiety and improve our overall mood.

Self-expression and Emotional Release

Creative arts provide us with a unique platform for self-expression. Through art, we can communicate our thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a tangible and visual way. Whether it’s painting a vibrant landscape or writing a heartfelt song, the creative process allows us to explore and express our innermost emotions.

Engaging in creative arts can also serve as a form of emotional release. It provides a safe space for us to channel and process our emotions, offering a cathartic outlet for any pent-up feelings we may have. Whether we’re experiencing joy, sadness, or anger, creative arts can help us navigate and understand our emotions more deeply.

The Connection between Creative Arts and Mental Health

Research has shown a strong link between engaging in creative arts and improved mental health. The act of creating art can boost our self-esteem and self-confidence, as it allows us to witness our own capabilities and accomplishments. This sense of achievement can have a positive impact on our overall mental well-being.

Furthermore, creative arts provide individuals with a sense of purpose and meaning. When we engage in activities that we enjoy and are passionate about, we experience a sense of fulfillment, which can help combat feelings of emptiness or anxiety.

Creative Arts as a Tool for Personal Growth

Engaging in creative arts offers individuals a transformative journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Through creative expression, we have the opportunity to delve into our thoughts, emotions, and experiences, gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves and our innermost desires.

Creative arts serve as a powerful means of self-expression, allowing us to communicate and articulate our unique perspectives and stories. By embracing our creativity, we unlock a pathway to self-confidence and self-esteem, as each creative achievement becomes a testament to our abilities and potential.

The process of creating art fosters self-reflection and self-awareness, leading to increased self-confidence and a greater sense of identity and purpose. As we explore different art forms, we uncover hidden talents and passions, opening doors to new possibilities and avenues of personal growth.

Moreover, engaging in creative arts nurtures our ability to take risks, overcome challenges, and embrace vulnerability. The act of creating requires us to step outside our comfort zones, confront our fears, and embrace uncertainty. Through this process, we cultivate resilience and develop a stronger belief in our own capabilities.

Furthermore, creative arts provide a safe and non-judgmental space for self-expression, enabling us to express emotions that may be difficult to put into words. The act of creating art allows us to channel our feelings and experiences, providing an outlet for catharsis and emotional release.

By fostering personal growth, creative arts empower us to become more self-aware, confident, and resilient individuals. As we embark on this artistic journey, we tap into our inner resources and unlock our true potential, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and enriching life.

Creative Arts and Cultural Appreciation

The creative arts provide a platform for individuals to engage with and appreciate different cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Through artistic expression, individuals can develop a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity and richness of various cultures.

In today’s globalized world, cultural appreciation is more important than ever. It allows us to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and foster inclusivity and cross-cultural understanding. By immersing ourselves in different artistic forms, we can gain insights into the values, beliefs, and experiences of people from diverse backgrounds.

Whether it’s through music, dance, visual arts, or literature, the creative arts offer a unique lens through which we can explore and celebrate cultural diversity. They provide a medium for storytelling, self-expression, and reflection, enabling us to connect with the experiences and perspectives of others.

Through creative arts education, we can help cultivate empathy, respect, and curiosity in learners of all ages. By exposing students to a wide range of artistic traditions, we can broaden their worldview, challenge their assumptions, and promote inclusivity.

The Role of Creative Arts in Promoting Cultural Appreciation

Creative arts provide a powerful means to celebrate cultural diversity and promote cultural appreciation. Here are some ways in which the creative arts contribute to fostering cross-cultural understanding:

  • Exploring diverse artistic expressions: Through exposure to various art forms and styles, individuals can appreciate the unique ways in which cultures express themselves creatively.
  • Engaging with different narratives: Artistic creations, such as literature, theater, and film, offer windows into different stories, histories, and perspectives, helping us understand the complex tapestry of human experiences.
  • Breaking stereotypes: Art challenges stereotypes and preconceived notions by offering nuanced portrayals of cultures and showcasing the diversity within them.
  • Encouraging dialogue and collaboration: Artistic collaborations and interdisciplinary projects provide opportunities for individuals from different cultural backgrounds to come together, exchange ideas, and co-create.

To fully embrace cultural appreciation through creative arts, it is essential to promote diversity and inclusivity in arts education. Providing access to a wide range of artistic traditions and perspectives ensures that everyone has the opportunity to engage with different cultures and broaden their cultural horizons.

Creative Arts in Early Childhood Education

Incorporating creative arts into early childhood education provides young children with a multitude of developmental benefits. These creative arts activities stimulate sensory exploration, enhance fine and gross motor skills, and promote imagination and creativity. By engaging in hands-on and interactive experiences, young children have the opportunity to express themselves and make sense of the world around them.

Sensory exploration through creative arts activities allows children to engage their senses and develop a deeper understanding of the environment. Whether it’s painting with different textures, listening to music, or engaging in movement activities, children are able to explore and experiment with their senses, fostering cognitive and sensory development.

Participating in creative arts activities also enhances fine and gross motor skills. Drawing, painting, and manipulating various art materials help children practice their hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, and spatial awareness. Dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments, on the other hand, promote gross motor skills and body coordination.

Furthermore, creative arts activities encourage imagination and creativity in young children. Through activities such as storytelling, role-playing, and art creation, children are able to tap into their imagination, explore their own ideas, and think creatively. These experiences not only foster cognitive development but also cultivate problem-solving skills and innovation.

Engaging in sensory exploration activities

Engaging in sensory exploration activities is crucial for young children’s development in early childhood education. By providing a variety of materials and opportunities for children to explore through their senses, educators can promote cognitive and emotional growth. Here are a few examples of sensory exploration activities in early childhood education:

  • Creating sensory bins filled with materials such as rice, sand, water, or feathers, allowing children to touch, feel, and explore different textures.
  • Setting up a nature exploration area where children can engage with natural materials like leaves, flowers, and rocks to stimulate their senses.
  • Using scented playdough or sensory bottles with different scents to enhance olfactory sensory experiences.

These activities not only provide a fun and engaging learning environment but also support children’s cognitive, physical, and emotional development. By incorporating creative arts and sensory exploration into early childhood education, educators can lay a strong foundation for children’s future growth and learning.

Integrating Creative Arts Across the Curriculum

At Exquisitive Education, we believe in the power of creative arts to enhance interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking skills. By integrating creative arts into various academic subjects, such as science, math, or language arts, we create a dynamic and engaging learning environment that encourages students to make connections, explore different perspectives, and deepen their understanding of the content.

When creative arts are integrated into the curriculum, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a meaningful and creative context. For example, in a science class, students can use visual arts to create models or diagrams that demonstrate scientific concepts. In a math class, students can explore geometric concepts through hands-on artistic activities.

This interdisciplinary approach not only enhances students’ creativity and problem-solving abilities but also fosters their critical thinking skills. By engaging with creative arts in different subject areas, students are challenged to think critically, analyze information, and make connections between different disciplines. This helps them develop a holistic understanding of the content and cultivates their ability to think outside the box.

To illustrate the benefits of integrating creative arts across the curriculum, let’s take a look at the following table:

As you can see from the table above, integrating creative arts across the curriculum not only enriches students’ learning experiences but also helps them develop a wide range of skills that are essential for their personal and academic growth.

At Exquisitive Education, we are dedicated to promoting interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking through the integration of creative arts. By embracing a curriculum that values the arts, we empower students to become creative thinkers, problem solvers, and lifelong learners.

Join us at Exquisitive Education to explore the transformative power of creative arts in education. Visit Exquisitive Education to learn more.

The integration of creative arts in education offers a holistic approach to learning, engaging students in meaningful and transformative experiences. Creative arts provide students with lifelong skills, such as critical thinking, creativity, self-expression, and cultural appreciation. By embracing the power of creative arts in education, we can create a learning environment that nurtures students’ unique talents, fosters their personal growth, and prepares them for success in a rapidly changing world.

Through creative arts, students are encouraged to think critically and explore their imagination, allowing for a more holistic learning experience. The interdisciplinary nature of creative arts helps students make connections between different subjects, cultivating a well-rounded understanding of the world. The synergistic combination of academic learning with creative expression fosters student engagement and deepens their understanding of complex concepts.

Moreover, creative arts offer a platform for students to develop lifelong skills that extend beyond the classroom. By engaging in activities such as music, visual arts, and dance, students enhance their communication skills, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities. These lifelong skills empower students to approach challenges with creativity and adaptability, preparing them to thrive in their future careers and contribute to society.

About The Author

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Ethan Emerson

Ethan Emerson is a passionate author and dedicated advocate for the transformative power of education. With a background in teaching and a love for writing, Ethan brings a unique blend of expertise and creativity to his contributions on ExquisitiveEducation.com .His articles are a delightful mix of insightful knowledge and engaging storytelling, aiming to inspire and empower learners of all ages. Ethan's mission is to ignite the spark of curiosity and foster a love for learning in every reader.Ethan Emerson, is your companion in the realm of general education exploration. With a passion for knowledge, He delves into the intricate world of Education Expenses & Discounts , uncovering financial insights for your educational journey. From the vitality of Physical Education to the synergy of Education & Technology , Ethan's here to bridge the gap between traditional and innovative learning methods. Discover the art of crafting impressive Resume & Personal Documentation in Education , as well as insights into diverse Career Paths, Degrees & Educational Requirements . Join Ethan in navigating through a sea of Educational Courses & Classes , exploring the nuances of various Education Systems , and understanding the empowering realm of Special Education . With an eye on Teaching & Teachers , He offers a glimpse into the world of educators who shape minds. Let's unlock Studying Tips & Learning Methods that turn education into a delightful journey of growth with Exquisitive Education .

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The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible pp 134–145 Cite as

  • Arts Education
  • Edward P. Clapp 2 &
  • Carolyn Kar Ning Ho 3  
  • Reference work entry
  • First Online: 01 January 2023

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Arts education may be loosely understood as teaching and learning in or through the arts within a variety of formal and informal environments including Pre–K-12 schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, libraries and museums, cultural centers, or within one’s home or community. This entry explores the historical background, definitions, multiple purposes, critical perspectives, and connections to the now and the possible for arts education.

  • Aesthetic Educatuion

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This approach to defining the arts from the perspective of the disciplines is not to be confused with Discipline-based Arts Education (Eisner, 1987 ).

Indeed, many of the historical accounts of arts education are grounded in an understanding of education in the arts as being an education in techniques associated with the visual arts.

For a broader discussion of the multiple purposes of arts education, see Seidel et al. ( 2009 ), as referenced above.

Quotations excerpted from National Art Education Association. ( n.d. ). The ten lessons the arts teach by Elliot Eisner. Retrieved from https://www.arteducators.org/advocacy-policy/articles/116-10-lessons-the-arts-teach

See https://www.studiothinking.org/the-framework.html for an overview of the Studio Thinking Framework.

See http://pzartfulthinking.org/ for more information about the Artful Thinking Palette and associated thinking routines.

While this is largely true, some have noted that science labs, sports equipment, and other such materials are just as likely to be cut from the budget in under-resourced schools and communities.

For a critique of the STEAM agenda, see Clapp, Solis, Ho, and Sachdeva ( 2019 ). Complicating STEAM: A Critical View of the Arts in the STEAM Agenda. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-981-13-2262-4_54-1

Americans for the Arts. (n.d.). Advocate (web page). Retrieved from https://www.americansforthearts.org/advocate

Ballantyne, T., & Burton, A. (2005). Bodies, empires, and world histories . North Carolina: Duke University Press.

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Clapp, E.P., Ho, C.K.N. (2022). Arts Education. In: Glăveanu, V.P. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-90913-0_56

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  • Art Education in the Classroom

The Importance of Art Education in the Classroom

November 30, 2023

Paintbrushes in plastic cups of paint in an Art Education classroom

That deceptively simple, four-word query confronts a topic that’s occupied some of the world’s greatest creators and philosophers since Plato. How we answer this question can have much bigger consequences than whether you get to buy a piece of artwork from Banksy’s online store. The issue of art’s value becomes far more pressing when policymakers and administrators decide how to allocate time and funding for art education in schools.

Art teachers must be ready to advocate for committing the necessary resources to prioritize the value of creativity in the classroom. You may have to explain the importance of art education in a school’s curriculum and present the research to back up those claims. We can become powerful advocates for the power of art and improved student outcomes by investigating the many benefits that come out of integrating more creativity into the school day and improving our classroom strategies .

Why Is Art Education In Schools Important?

Anyone who’s passionate about the arts recalls formative moments of experiencing a work of art pushing through a creative challenge. When we’re exposed to remarkable artworks or have opportunities to create, we find that art is crucial to individual growth and development and can even impact our health.

A literature review from Frontiers in Psychology outlined several studies linking aesthetic experiences with broad improvements in subjects’ emotional states that promote physical and psychological well-being. Giving learners the time, space, and materials for creative expression can lower stress, improve memory, and make them feel more socially connected. Instructors can build their careers on bringing those experiences to students in a variety of settings, like galleries, museums, or events organized by nonprofit and community organizations.

Appreciation for art also makes a significant difference in people’s lives on a macro level. Entire societies may stand to gain from an investment in the arts. Drawing on data from the General Social Survey, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Public Administration linked participation as either an audience member or creator to higher levels of civic engagement and social tolerance . This work suggests that children learning how to draw, paint, sing, or just appreciate the works made by others can help us become not just happier and healthier, but also better people. Learn about UF’s Online Master of Arts in Art Education program

How Does Art Education Help Students?

When surveyed by the nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts, members of the U.S. public overwhelmingly agreed that the arts are one aspect of a well-rounded K-12 education . In addition, a recent study conducted in Houston public schools showed that students who participated in arts education see the following benefits:

  • Improved writing achievement
  • Reduced disciplinary infractions
  • More student engagement
  • Improved college aspirations
  • No drop in standardized test scores

Yet, participation in the visual and performing arts is often treated as merely supplemental to other aspects of learning. As a result, there are major differences in access to art and music classes across the country.

2019 findings from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that eighth graders in the Northeast were much more likely to report being enrolled in a visual arts course than those in the South. Disparities were also tied to race, ethnicity, family income, and whether a school is located in a city, suburb, town, or rural area.

Meanwhile, the Nation’s Report Card shows that U.S. students continue to score lower than many of their peers in Europe and Asia on standardized tests despite years of pressure on educators to close the achievement gap. But seeking to improve student performance in math and reading does not have to come at the expense of art education.

In fact, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, argue that instruction becomes more effective when educators integrate creative activities and make them central to academic development. Across disciplines, including STEM, there’s room to reimagine classes with a strong emphasis on drawing, painting, playing music, performing drama, and other creative pursuits. Encouraging students to use their imagination can help them actively engage with new concepts and discover connections between ideas as well as provide advantages for their social and emotional well-being.

One example of effectively integrating arts and creative expression with other fields as a pedagogical strategy can be seen in the collaboration between University of Florida faculty members Susan K. Jacobson, who studies wildlife ecology and conservation, and Robert C. Mueller, who teaches printmaking. The UF professors collaborated on an interdisciplinary project in climate change communication in which groups of graduate students from both the School of Natural Resources and the Environment and the College of the Arts visited the university’s Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory. The students participated in learning activities like scientific lectures, discussions, and making collages before working in small groups to create environmental communication materials for visitors.

As this example shows, students benefit from learning to embrace insights from multiple disciplines, and this can be valuable when they go on to pursue jobs. A 2019 survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that employers are interested in hiring professionals with skills that can be strengthened through participation in the arts, such as written communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and taking initiative. Art teachers can help students become more well-rounded and capable individuals by teaching them to develop original ideas through creative projects and practices.

The Importance of Art Education in Early Childhood and Beyond

It’s never too soon to introduce kids to the possibilities of creative expression. As outlined in a literature review from the National Endowment for the Arts, a variety of studies demonstrate the value of embedding artistic practice into early childhood education . Imaginative activities for young learners can lead to better skills in social interactions and emotional regulation.

Lessons in the arts introduce K-12 students to problem-solving techniques, which help them to see the world in new ways, and provide access to creative ways of knowing. Kids discover how art can communicate their own ideas and may become interested in creating increasingly realistic depictions and mastering new techniques. By high school, young artists can think critically about their own work and that of others, establishing a unique point of view and a sense of community with other creative individuals.

The National Core Arts Standards provide a framework for advancing students’ artistic understanding . This structure breaks down the developmental stages from Pre K through high school into 10 anchor standards. In each stage, students build creative habits as they learn to:

  • Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work
  • Organize and develop ideas and work
  • Refine and complete artistic work
  • Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation
  • Convey meaning through the presentation
  • Perceive and analyze artistic work
  • Interpret intent and meaning
  • Apply criteria to evaluate work
  • Make art by synthesizing and relating knowledge and personal experiences
  • Deepen understanding by relating artistic ideas to societal, historical, and cultural contexts

Pediatrician Dr. Perri Klass outlined the benefits of art education in schools in the New York Times, noting improvements for overall motivation, thinking, and academic achievement . An arts-integrated curriculum that asks students to draw or sing as part of the learning process may enhance their ability to recall material such as scientific principles or vocabulary. Foregrounding creativity can be especially effective for students who struggle to retain information from traditional lectures and reading assignments alone.

Art does matter in the classroom, delivering a wide range of advantages for students. Educators can make the most of that potential by equipping themselves to offer creative practice as a central feature in the curriculum and show decisionmakers how these initiatives can achieve transformative results. The University of Florida’s online Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) program helps teachers make a difference. This program features courses that prepare educators to work in a variety of learning environments , support students of all ages, incorporate digital tools into their pedagogy, and foster critical thinking.

About the Online Master’s in Art Education from the University of Florida

The University of Florida’s online Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) program engages students purposefully in art education theory and practice, contemporary art, and their own studio work. Our dynamic online learning environment fosters meaningful interaction with peers and our world-class faculty as members of a supportive, close-knit community of art educators, artists, cultural workers, and scholars. This flexible program brings you the advanced concepts and immersive, hands-on experiences you need to flourish academically and creatively.

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Paul Collard – What is a creative education and why is it important?

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In this video, Paul Collard, Chief Executive of Creativity, Culture and Education, discusses the features of an effective approach to creative education. Paul draws on his experience of observing, designing and delivering programmes, not only in England but elsewhere in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

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This speech was delivered at the Scottish Learning Festival 2012 and was published by Education Scotland in 2012.

What is a creative education and why is it important

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My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

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Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

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La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

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The Importance of Creative Arts in Early Childhood Education

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The creative arts emphasize the process, teaching kids in a world that is progressively more and more product-driven that the method by which you arrive at the destination is as or more significant than the destination itself.

When you hear the word “creative,” what springs to your mind? Do you think of artists of every type and discipline – musicians like Mozart and Michael Jackson, painters like Picasso and Jackson Pollock, dancers like Misty Copeland, actors and directors like Harrison Ford and Woody Allen, and authors like Jules Verne and J.K. Rowling? Do you imagine famous works of art – works like the Mona Lisa, A Starry Night, “Thriller,” the Turkish March, Great Expectations, Harry, Potter, the Nutcracker, and Swan Lake? Or perhaps places you can view art on display is what you visualize when you hear the “C” word – Carnegie Hall, The Louvre, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art”¦. There are an infinite number of places, people, works, and ideas that one could think of, but what many people never connect to the word “creative” is themselves.

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Copyright: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova

Like intelligence or beauty, creativity is a trait that is seen as rare and inherent, a trait that is intuitive and cannot be taught; the works that are produced by those with creativity are awesome and unattainable. However, if children are given the proper opportunities to practice and develop their creativity, as with any muscle in the human body, the trait will become stronger and feel more natural.

What are the Creative Arts?

But what is creativity? According to the New Oxford American Dictionary , creativity is defined as:

The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.

This then begs the question: what are the creative arts? In relation to children, the creative arts are activities that engage a child’s imagination and can include activities such as art, dance, drama, puppetry, and music. They stimulate and help children cultivate their abilities across virtually every domain, and they are open-ended activities, fostering flexibility of the mind. And most important of all, the creative arts emphasize the process, teaching kids in a world that is progressively more and more product-driven that the method by which you arrive at the destination is as or more significant than the destination itself.

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The Benefits of the Creative Arts

The benefits of including and stressing the creative arts in an early childhood education are numerous and expansive, ranging from the physical to the emotional to the mental. But how can the creative arts develop children’s physical ability? Although we more than not take our actions for granted, our ability to move and our coordination is comprised of gross and fine motor skills, and our skill level in these movements are developed throughout our childhood. Varying types of creative arts activities help children to build up their abilities in both categories of motion. For example, when a child grips and uses a paintbrush, or glues buttons and yarn to paper, he is engaging and advancing his fine motor skills. However, when he dances, skipping or clapping or jumping in time to the music, he stimulates the part of the brain that controls gross motor skills. Childhood utilization of these areas is critical to later adulthood abilities.

Unsurprisingly, the creative arts provide an outlet for young children to explore and gain control over their emotions, too. The arts have always been considered to be a passionate and expressive pastime, and this holds true for kids as well, although in a manner different than for older individuals. For example, while the arts help adults release feelings they might otherwise have difficulty expressing, the arts help young children to explore their emotional range so that they’ll be better equipped to deal with the ups and downs that will become a part of their lives as they grow older. Theater, dramatic play, and role playing, in particular, are all especially suited to developing children’s emotional abilities.

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According to researchers, the creative arts also foster the development of children’s cognitive abilities. Exploring and participating in creative play triggers the use of kids’ imagination, which in turn stimulates and expands their mental capacities. According to Lev Vygotsky, such play enables kids to learn new things, going beyond the previously held belief that children reflect the world around them to state that they internalize and begin to understand it. Furthermore, he believed that this learning process is dependent on children’s social interactions, terming it “scaffolding,” in which a child with a smaller knowledge base increases her skill level by emulating an individual with a larger knowledge base, be it another child or an adult. For example, if a child with underdeveloped fine motor skills sees her friend excelling at painting, she will copy his movements and thus improves her abilities.

The creative arts are often thought of as unimportant, and are frequently the first programs to be cut when funds are low. However, the creative arts not only cultivate children’s imaginations, so that they become more flexible and inventive thinkers, but also help to develop their physical, emotional, and mental capabilities. As such, it is imperative that we work to integrate greater chances for young children to engage in the creative arts, for such measures will provide the foundation for later success.


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Creative Arts for Young Children

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Table of Contents

Movement and Dance

Drama and storytelling, visual arts, iel resources, web resources.

Art is so much more than paint, markers, or crayons. Creative arts are activities that actively engage children’s imagination through music, visual arts, movement and dance, and drama and storytelling. Creative arts engage children across all domains—cognitive, language, social, emotional, and physical. This tool kit will describe four different types of creative arts and will provide ideas for encouraging and supporting young children in creative arts activities at home and in the classroom. The article Creative Arts Help Children Develop Across Many Domains shows how art activities can support young children’s development.

Creative arts activities are deliberately open-ended, foster divergent thinking, and support the process without particular attention on the product. The article The importance of creative arts in early childhood classrooms provides an overview of the creative arts as well as information on the theories that help guide the early childhood field and how to apply those theories in the classroom.

The Arts domain within the 2013 Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards provides reasonable expectations for children’s development in the areas of drama, music, visual arts, and movement and dance.

There are many ways to incorporate movement and dance into the lives of young children, whether at home or in a group setting.

  • When out and about with young children, there are many opportunities to engage in meaningful activities and conversations. Dancing on the sidewalk—or any flat surface—is a great way to practice coordination and experiment with space, as shown in the tip sheet, Out and About with Preschoolers: Dancing on the Sidewalk .
  • It is important for young children to be active to build healthy habits early in life. When participating in fitness activities, it is important to stretch, warm up, and cool down. Catching and throwing a ball or jumping with both feet can help build confidence in large motor skills. The tip sheet Building Endurance: Let’s Get Physical! provides additional ideas.  
  • As families, we might spend time waiting—in line at the grocery store, in the carpool lane, in traffic, or at the clinic. The Things to Do While Your’e Waiting tip sheet series includes many ideas to help maximize that time and keep young children active and engaged in movement, language, or learning activities, including talking about math, art, music, science, and motor skills.
  • In classrooms, teachers can use songs and stories during large group time to engage in active movement. The video Creative Movement: The Flower Dance demonstrates this concept using a story while the video Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley: Learning Through an Action Song , demonstrates this concept with a song.
  • Active movement can be done anywhere, even without many props or supplies. The blog posts Active Play Promotes Young Children’s Development and Pass the Ball Versus Pass the Remote: Supporting Preschoolers’ Physical Activity provide ideas on connecting language with outdoor play and embedding gross motor opportunities throughout the day.
  • IELDS benchmarks can be addressed through lesson plans, adapted for children with disabilities. Here is one example: Physical Development and Health Lesson Addressing Benchmark 19.B.ECb

Drama helps children develop imagination, language skills, confidence, creative expression, and cooperation and other social skills. Storytelling helps preschoolers get ready to become readers and writers. IEL has produced several tip sheets that help families and providers expand upon children’s pretend play and storytelling experiences, including using boxes and blocks for play, helping children dictate stories, and encouraging free time for young children.

  • Drama and Young Children
  • Make Room for Blocks!
  • Time to Play, Time to Dream: Unscheduling Your Child
  • Toys from Throwaways: Boxes
  • Young Authors at Work: Story Dictations
  • Young Children Need to Play!
  • Many early childhood programs and homes include puppets in their dramatic play centers and toy boxes. Puppets can provide an opportunity for a young child to make up a story or reenact experiences they have had. The two blogs, What Puppets Mean to Can Mean to Children , and What Puppets Can Mean to Children, Part 2 , describe how puppets can be used in homes and early childhood settings and to address concerns about behavior or social-emotional development. 
  • Reading together supports the development of children’s language and comprehension skills. The blog Super Story Time describes ideas for how caregivers can build on story time.
  • Providing inexpensive props for young children is a good way to support the development of pretend play. The videos Pretend Play with Big Boxes , Tea Party , Tattoos and Teakettles: “Housekeeping Conversations” , and The Right Word: Conversation and Print During Pretend Play demonstrate opportunities for young children to engage in dramatic play.

Music can help young children develop motor, language, social-emotional, and cognitive skills. As shown in the tip sheets listed below, there are many opportunities to embed music throughout the daily lives of young children. Adults and young children can sing songs, pretend to be animals, and make musical instruments together.

  • Out and About with Preschoolers: Make Some Music
  • Sing, Play, and Hear: Music’s in the Air
  • Things to Do While You’re Waiting: Music and Movement
  • Things to Do While You’re Waiting: Music, Sound, and Movement
  • Evidence shows that interaction with music positively affects the quality of children’s lives. Th resource list Music for Preschool Children offers tip sheets and additional resources to help early childhood providers maximize those musical interactions.
  • Learn more about how all children can benefit from interactions with music. The blog Learning through Music and Movement describes benefits for dual language learners, while The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 25.A.ECc describes benefits for children with disabilities.
  • Music can also be incorporated into classrooms using the Project Approach, as demonstrated in The Music Project .
  • IELDS benchmarks can be addressed through lesson plans, adapted for children with disabilities. Here is one example: The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 25.A.ECc

Visual arts are a favorite activity for children and adults alike. Young children explore their world through their senses. Open-ended opportunities such as coloring, painting, and play dough or clay help children solve problems, enhance motor skills, build vocabulary, and more. Many IEL tip sheets describe how adults can support young children in visual art activities and experiences. Children can use chalk on sidewalks or crayons or pencils on paper to draw their pictures.

  • Out and About with Preschoolers: Close Up with Visual Arts
  • The Power of the Pen: Drawing and Scribbling
  • Things to Do While You’re Waiting: Art Is All Around
  • Things to Do While You’re Waiting: Art Works !
  • STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning activities provide opportunities for young children to develop skills across developmental domains. The resource list Explore STEAM with Young Children provides IEL resources and additional sources of high-quality, interactive activity ideas for young children.
  • When planning activities for young children, it is important to consider the process, as illustrated in the blog Make Art a Part of Every Day: Focus on the Process . The blog Scribbling as Early Steps to Reading and Writing describes how children develop skills. and how young children develop skills . Three-dimensional art can expand upon ideas and skill development by exploring design properties in new ways, as outlined in Challenge Young Artists to Create in Three Dimensions .
  • Early childhood classrooms often include children with diverse abilities, experiences, and backgrounds. IEL has developed lesson plans for several IELDS benchmarks that show possible adaptations that can be made to include all children. The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 25.B.ECa and The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 26.B.ECa emphasize helping children describe or respond to creative work and using creative arts for self-expression.
  • IEL’s benchmark videos demonstrate how various IELDS benchmarks are met. Children can draw a friend ( Drawing a Friend ), paint a fence ( Mila Paints the Fence ), draw a garden ( Roland Draws a Garden ), paint with straws ( Straw Painting ), and draw a wheel ( Bethany Draws a Wheel ), while gaining important skills and exploring visual arts.
  • The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 25.B.ECa
  • The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 26.B.ECA
  • Building Endurance: Let’s Get Physical
  • Make Room for Blocks
  • Out and About with Preschoolers: Dancing on the Sidewalk
  • Sing, Play and Hear: Music’s in the Air
  • Things to Do While You’re Waiting  series
  • Young Children Need to Play
  • Explore STEAM with Young Children
  • Music for Preschool Children
  • Bethany Draws a Wheel
  • Creative Movement: The Flower Dance
  • Drawing a Friend
  • Mila Paints the Fence
  • Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley: Learning Through an Action Song
  • Pretend Play with Big Boxes
  • The Right Word: Conversation and Print During Pretend Play
  • Roland Draws a Garden
  • Straw Painting
  • Tattoos and Teakettles: “Housekeeping” Conversations
  • Active Play Promotes Young Children’s Development
  • Challenge Young Artists to Create in Three Dimensions
  • Learning Through Music and Movement
  • Make Art a Part of Every Day: Focus on the Process
  • Scribbling as Early Steps to Reading and Writing
  • What Puppets Can Mean to Children
  • What Puppets Can Mean to Children, Part 2
  • Project Example: The Music Project
  • The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 25.A.ECc
  • The Arts Lesson Addressing Benchmark 26.B.ECa
  • Physical Development and Health Lesson Addressing Benchmark 19.B.ECb
  • 2013 Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards: The Arts

This article describes ways that art activities can support young children’s development.

This article provides an overview of the creative arts, information on the theories that help guide the early childhood field, and how to apply those theories in the classroom.

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Creativity Throughout the Day

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Fostering creativity is one of the most rewarding—and challenging—goals that teachers of young children can set for themselves. While it may seem simple enough to put out art materials—and let young children bubble with their often novel ideas—it takes a lot of thought and skill to establish a learning environment that nurtures creative thinking. Only by intentionally connecting educational goals with open-ended, inspiring approaches can teachers encourage children to express and develop their creativity as part of the learning process. True creativity emerges from the combination of knowledge, skill, inspiration, and persistence.

This  Young Children  cluster takes readers inside classrooms where children’s creative thinking is cultivated in large and small ways throughout the day. Painting and poetry are used as means of self-expression and as paths to a deeper grasp of core concepts in science and social studies. Singing brings a meaningful context to reading fluently, and a design challenge reveals the benefits of combining aesthetics with mathematics and engineering. Throughout this cluster, children’s creativity provides the spark for new explorations, and in turn, their new knowledge inspires yet more creative thinking.

what is creative arts education

Another way to challenge children’s creative thinking is to carefully examine excellent works of art. Angela Eckhoff, in “ Meaningful Art and Aesthetic Experiences for Young Children ,” takes us inside the Denver Art Museum as a class of 3- and 4-year-olds explore a ceremonial mask from a Pacific Northwest Coast tribe from aesthetic and cultural perspectives. Later, they creatively apply their new understandings as they make their own mask-like boxes. Knowing that many teachers are not able to take trips to museums, Eckhoff suggests ways to use museum websites to inspire similar learning experiences.

In “ ‘Look What I Made!’ Open-Ended Apps that Spark Creativity ,” Holly Carrell Moore considers how a variety of apps can be strategically incorporated into preschool classrooms to foster creativity. Much like blocks and paints, many apps provide meaningful opportunities for children to express their ideas and feelings, create patterns, design environments, and more. For some children, the ease with which changes can be made in digital creations is especially freeing.

For educators, one reason to make time for creative endeavors is that these experiences combine aesthetic, academic, and social and emotional learning. As Rekha S. Rajan demonstrates in “ Take Center Stage: Enriching Academics with Musical Theater in the Primary Grades ,” musical theater can develop a wide range of abilities. Working with a second-grade teacher, Rajan selects a short musical that enriches a social studies unit, has performance and production roles for all children, provides meaningful language and literacy practice, requires collaborative problem solving, and creates unique opportunities for the children to express themselves.

Creative self-expression is the heart of “ ‘Freedom for Me Is to Play Heartily in a Playground’: Writing Poetry Develops Children’s Voices ,” by So Jung Kim. Kim describes a class of 6-year-olds in South Korea flourishing in a student-centered, multicultural curriculum. Challenging the children to deeply explore concepts like friendship and freedom across cultures, the teacher reads aloud picture books on multicultural issues, then engages the children in developing free verse poems and illustrations to express their thoughts.

what is creative arts education

Rounding out the cluster, we move from the humanities to a design and engineering project in “ Over the Fence: Engaging Preschoolers and Families in a Yearlong STEAM Investigation ,” by Lauren Weatherly, Vicki Oleson, and Lisa Ramond Kistner. Wanting to see over the tall fence surrounding their playground, a group of 4- and 5-year-olds moves from asking their teachers for a solution to solving the problem themselves by researching, designing, modeling, and building a tree house (with a little help from families and friends). Like professional architects, they meet regulatory standards and consider aesthetic features while achieving their goal.

Throughout this cluster, what strikes me is how fortunate these children are to be engaged in meaningful, creative challenges so early in their education. Without diminishing children’s initial thoughts, the teachers in these articles find ways to press forward—building knowledge, asking questions, and making time and space for thinking—to enable the children to have deeper, more creative ideas.

Reflecting on these articles, I realize that we are all fortunate, for we all ultimately benefit from this type of education. As Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out, “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

We’d love to hear from you!

Send your thoughts on this issue, as well as topics you’d like to read about in future issues of Young Children, to  [email protected] .

Would you like to see your children’s artwork featured in these pages? For guidance on submitting print-quality photos (as well as details on permissions and licensing), email  [email protected]  or see  NAEYC.org/publications/forauthors/photoguidelines .

Lisa Hansel, EdD, is the editor in chief of NAEYC's peer-reviewed journal, Young Children .

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Vol. 72, No. 5

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Inspiring Art Quotes from Famous Artists

What are Creative Arts its Benefits and Importance in Schools?

However, it is worth noting that not all creativity needs to be artistic , and not all artistry needs to be creative.

For example, someone who comes up with a new way to market a product is creative but may not necessarily be artistic. Similarly, someone who can paint or draw very well may be considered artistic, but their work may not be original or inventive .

In general, “creative” describes someone good at coming up with new ideas, while “artistic” describes someone good at expressing those ideas visually appealingly.

However, we must remember that these two terms are not mutually exclusive. Many people are both creative and artistic, and many people are neither.

Table of Contents

What are Creative Arts?

Creative arts is an umbrella term covering many different art forms. It includes everything from visual and graphic design to performing arts and music.

The primary purpose of this art is to allow people to express themselves through different mediums . It’s a way for people to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without words.

Creative arts can be divided into two main categories: fine and applied.

Fine arts include painting, sculpture, photography, and other art forms created for aesthetic purposes.

On the other hand, applied arts are created for practical purposes. Applied arts can include product design, architecture, and fashion design.

How Do You Make Creative Art?

A teacher is teaching student on how to make creative art

The term “creative art” covers various mediums in arts disciplines, from painting and sculpture to poetry and prose.

While there is no sure-shot formula for creating art, key ingredients are essential for any creative work .

First and foremost, art must be original. It should not be copied from somewhere or a recreation of something already existing. It should be something that has not been seen before or seen in a new and unique way .

In addition, art must have creative expression . It should communicate the artist’s feelings, ideas, or vision to the viewer.

Finally, art should have some purpose or meaning behind it. Whether to provoke thought, stimulate emotion, or entertain, all great works of art serve some purpose.

Why Are Creative Arts Important in School?

It is widely recognized that creative arts are an essential part of a well-rounded education. The arts give children a unique way of expressing themselves and understanding the world around them.

Studies have shown that children exposed to arts education have higher test scores and grades and more chances of graduating. Let us list a few reasons why it is necessary for school.

Get involved in Extracurricular Activities.

Creative arts offer an excellent way for students to get involved in extracurricular activities . These creative arts activities can help boost confidence and self-esteem while teaching teamwork skills. The activities also will eliminate them from the monotony of school life.

Meet New People and Network with other Creatives

four little students making creative art understanding importance of creative arts

Creative arts also provide an opportunity for students to meet new people . These activities can help students build lasting friendships with others with the same interests. Furthermore, engaging in these activities can also offer an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow creatives and expand your network.

It is always said there will be some change in life when we meet new people.

Enhance Academic Achievement

As mentioned earlier, studies have shown that children exposed to the arts have higher test scores and grades, which help children’s overall development. The skills can help to support academic achievement in several ways.

For instance, the arts can teach critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In addition, the arts can help to develop fine motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination.

Boost Confidence and Self-Esteem

Creative arts can also help to boost confidence and self-esteem. These activities allow students to express themselves and recognize their talents and abilities.

The confidence and self-esteem gained from these activities can spill over into other areas of life, such as academics and social interactions.

Attend Art Shows and Exhibits

Creative arts also allow students to attend art shows and exhibits. These events can be a great way to learn about different artists and their work.

In addition, these events can also be a lot of fun. They allow students to dress up, socialize, and enjoy the artwork.

Participate in Service Projects

Creative arts are used to participate in service projects. These projects can help raise awareness about important issues and make a difference in the lives of others .

In addition, these projects can also be a great way to build teamwork skills and learn more about cooperation and collaboration.

Teaches Discipline

two students carefully cutting paper and stickers making creative arts

Last but not least, creative arts teach discipline. These activities require students to follow directions and adhere to deadlines .

Discipline will benefit students both in and out of the classroom.

These are some of the reasons why creative arts are necessary for school. As you can see, the arts offer several benefits that can help support academic achievement and personal growth .

So, if you can get involved in the arts, take advantage of it. It can be one of your best decisions.

What is the Difference between Creative and Artistic?

While “creative” and “artistic” are often used interchangeably , there is a distinct difference between the two.

Someone creative can come up with new ideas or solutions, while an artist can express those ideas visually appealingly.

In other words, creativity is about developing new ideas , while artistry is the ability to execute those ideas beautifully or compellingly.

Both qualities are required in advertising , design, and fashion. However, it is worth noting that not all creativity needs to be artistic, and not all artistry needs to be creative.

For example, someone who comes up with a new way to market a product is creative but may not necessarily be artistic. Similarly, someone who can paint or draw very well may be considered artistic, but their work may not be original or inventive.

In general, “creative” describes someone good at c oming up with new ideas , while “artistic” describes someone good at expressing those ideas visually appealingly.

What is the Main Purpose of Creative Arts?

Creative arts serve as a means of expressing emotions, conveying ideas, and narrating stories. While they are primarily viewed as a form of entertainment, they can also be utilized for educational purposes and imparting valuable lessons.

The value of creative arts lies in their ability to stimulate the imagination and creativity of both the creator and the observer.

They can communicate emotions that cannot be easily expressed through words alone. In addition, creative arts can be a form of therapy, providing an outlet for stress and anxiety.

Whether used for amusement, education, or self-expression, the creative arts serve a purpose in our lives.

Communicates Ideas, Experiences, and Emotions

three kid students and a teacher explaining the purpose of creative arts

The arts provide a unique way for people to express themselves and share their stories. We can connect with others more profoundly and create meaningful relationships through the arts.

The arts also help us to understand and appreciate different cultures and perspectives. By experiencing the arts, we can learn about other people’s customs, traditions, and values.

Arts can also promote social change and bring positive transformation to our communities.

With our stories being shared, we inspire others to do the same.

In this way, the arts can be a powerful force for good .

Entertain and Engage Audiences

The Arts have always been a source of entertainment for people worldwide. Whether it be music, dance, theatre, or visual art, the Arts provide a way to escape the mundane everyday life and experience something new .

They allow us to feel emotions we may not think of in our everyday lives and see the world differently .

In recent years, the Arts have become gradually popular as entertainment , and there are many ways to experience them.

With the rise of digital technology, we can now enjoy the Arts from the comfort of our homes and even create our artistic creations.

The Arts provide a way to relax and unwind and can help us learn new things.

Improves mood and Relieves Stress Level

Stress can cause many things, such as work, school, or personal problems. When an individual is under a lot of stress, it can lead to negative consequences such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

Creative arts can help reduce stress by providing an outlet for self-expression and relaxation.

Additionally, it can improve one’s mood by increasing positive emotions and helping to manage negative emotions.

For example, art therapy is an effective treatment for depression .

There are many different types of creative arts, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer painting, sculpting, photography, or writing, you can use the skills to reduce stress, improve your mood, and communicate your ideas .

Learn New Skills and Techniques

While each art form has unique elements, one of the primary purposes of creative arts is to learn new skills and techniques .

Through it, one can explore their creativity, discover new ways of expression , and develop their talents.

In addition, creative arts can also be used as a form of therapy to help individuals cope with stress, trauma, and other challenges.

Creative arts can help individuals heal emotionally and mentally by providing a safe space for self-expression.

Ultimately, the sole purpose of creative arts is to provide an outlet for creativity and self-expression. 

Relaxing and Fun Ways to Spend Your Time

lady teacher teaching creative art to her student in a sort of fun and relaxed way

We should find ways to relax and unwind in our stressful and fast-paced world. The arts can provide a fun and relaxing way to spend your time.

Whether you enjoy attending live performances or creating art, the arts can help you relax and escape everyday stresses .

The arts can also be a great way to connect with friends and family. You can create lasting memories and bonds with loved ones by sharing your passion for the arts.

The arts provide a fun and relaxing way to spend time and connect with others. There is always something to enjoy with so many different creative arts.

Arts constitute an essential part of our lives and provide many benefits. The next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, consider enjoying the arts. You may be surprised how they can improve your mood and overall well-being.

Creative art is an essential aspect of school and child development. It allows children to express themselves, learn new skills, and grow as individuals .

If you are interested in a career in creative arts, there are many ways to plan opportunities . The best way is by exploring your interests and attending workshops or classes to learn more about the field.

There are many online resources available to help you get started.

We hope this article has provided valuable information about creative arts and their importance in schools and child development.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes art creative.

Creativity is the result of a synthesis of divergent ideas, and it requires a certain level of openness and flexibility to combine seemingly disparate concepts into something new and innovative. Other factors contributing to creativity include intuition, daydreaming, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, the environment in which an artist works can also foster or inhibit creativity.

Why is being creative important?

Creativity is essential because it allows us to develop new ideas and solutions to problems. It helps us see the world differently and makes us more adaptable and flexible. It also contributes to our well-being and happiness and can be a source of self-expression.

What are some ways to be more creative?

Some people find they are more creative when well-rested and not under too much stress. Others find that they need to take breaks from their work and allow themselves time to daydream. Some ways to be more creative include being curious and open-minded, challenging yourself, taking risks, practicing mindfulness, and seeking inspiration from others.

What are some common blocks to creativity?

There are many blocks to creativity, but some of the most common ones include fear of failure, perfectionism, self-criticism, and comparison. All these blocks can keep us from being creative and expressing our true selves.

What are highly creative people like?

Highly creative people are usually very passionate about their work. They also tend to be very curious and voracious for learning. They’re always exploring new ideas and concepts, constantly looking for ways to improve their skills, and are mostly open-minded and flexible. They’re willing to experiment with different ideas and approaches and are unafraid of change.

About The Author

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Drawing of Clara Nartey

The Power of Art to Cultivate Joy

Subscribe to Learning through Experience in Apple Podcasts , Spotify , Google Podcasts , or your favorite podcast player .

I love how art can take us on a journey to another way of seeing things. And, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the human condition is a little rough and rocky these days — so I feel drawn to opportunities to cultivate joy.

In my role as Chair of the Art Committee at Yale School of Management, I have the chance to impact the space through the iconography on the walls. I wanted to do something real and uplifting. Then I met Clara Nartey and experienced her work. I am delighted to welcome her to this podcast so others can hear about her perspective and process.

In this episode, we speak about art as a reflective practice, the impact of art on education, and the power of art to encourage discussion and change minds. Clara encourages us to explore art as a means of reflection and a way to navigate difficult topics and conversations that we may have otherwise avoided.

The Joy of Living Exhibit at the Yale School of Management is a permanent exhibit by artist Clara Nartey. Clara is a textile artist and former management consultant, her exhibit at Yale is a reflection of her experience of the pandemic, and it has become a part of the context and fabric of the experience of this building.

Key Topics:

04:10 Finding your way through experience: Challenging our perspective around difficult experiences and allowing them to become learning opportunities that lead us to courageous leaps.

10:02 The journey of becoming an artist: Learning through and from opportunities as they come to you in life, stretching and building range from them.

14:50 Creativity and self-reflection during the pandemic: Reflecting on what life means and creating art and joy from that place of reflection.

17:25 Art as a reflective practice: Being in a relationship with the creative process, directing your learning, and letting the work speak to you and evolve.

19:19 The power of art to change minds: There is a stretching of mind, heart, and spirit that happens through perceiving human issues through the arts.

Learn more:

See Clara Nartey’s Collections on her website.

The Joy of Living by Clara Nartey

Listen to Clara Nartey discuss the works in the exhibit.

Readers are Leaders, 2022, Inks and Threads on Cotton, 65″x 54″

A painting of a man reading

All Lit Up, 2022, Threads and Inks on Cotton, 40″ x 30″

The artist next to her painting

A Spring in my Step, 2023, Inks and Threads on Cotton, 40″x30″

A portrait of a woman wearing a hat

Dancing Queen in Little Accra, 2022, Inks and threads on cotton, 7’x5′

The artist next to a portrait of a dancing woman

Free Spirit, 2023, Inks and Threads on Cotton, 40″x 30″

A portrait of a laughing woman

Breaking Bread, 2022, Inks and Threads on Cotton, 36″x36″

The artist with a portrait of a woman baking bread


This article is part of the research topic.

Cognitive Benefits of Technologies Applied to Learning in Education

Shaping the Future of Creative Education: The Transformative Power of VR in Art and Design Learning Provisionally Accepted

  • 1 University of Monterrey, Mexico

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

Addressing a critical gap in the understanding of virtual reality (VR) in education, this study develops and validates a predictive model to elucidate the influence of usability and spatial ability on learning satisfaction among art and design undergraduates. Utilizing structural equation modeling on data from 105 art and design students in Mexico, we demonstrate that enhanced usability and spatial ability in VR significantly predicts increased learning satisfaction, which in turn, positively affects motivation, cognitive benefits, reflective thinking, and perceived learning. Our findings reveal a direct correlation between VR environment design and educational outcomes, suggesting that meticulous attention to usability and spatial navigation can substantially elevate the learning experience in art and design students. This research contributes to educational technology by offering empirical evidence on optimizing VR for higher education, with implications for curriculum design and pedagogical strategies in creative disciplines.

Keywords: virtual reality, Learning, design education, Learning experience, education in art and design

Received: 19 Feb 2024; Accepted: 25 Mar 2024.

Copyright: © 2024 Serna-Mendiburu and Guerra-Tamez. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Cristobal R. Guerra-Tamez, University of Monterrey, San Pedro Garza García, 66238, Nuevo León4, Mexico

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Applications are still open for Arts Camp and Arts Academy. Programs fill quickly—submit your app today!

From art to innovation: interlochen alumni tap creative skills in stem careers.

Alumni Lauren Braun, Heather Dion, and Carrie Ott-Holland share how the capacities they honed through arts education apply to their current careers—and how the arts continue to play a meaningful role in their lives.

Carrie Ott-Holland and Lauren Braun

Carriet Ott-Holland (left) and Lauren Braun (right). Not pictured: Heather Dion.

Are you left-brained or right-brained? Does the A for “arts” belong in STEAM—or is it better off as just STEM?

In our increasingly technological world, questions like these shape discussions on everything from hiring processes to educational policies. But though these questions suggest a clear delineation between art and science, the true relationship between creativity and intellect is far less binary. (In fact, the idea of ‘left brain’ and ‘right brain’ has been debunked by neuroscientists .)

Just as fractions govern musical meter and the Golden Ratio can be applied to produce aesthetically pleasing paintings, the arts offer valuable insights and vital skills for professionals in science, mathematics, technology, medicine, and other fields.

Below, three Interlochen Arts Camp and Arts Academy alumni share how their artistic training prepared them for careers in science and technology—and how creativity continues to enrich their lives and work today.

Translating the technical

On the surface, mastering a new aria and researching the effectiveness of hybrid work appear to have little in common. But for Carrie Ott-Holland (IAC 02, IAA 03-05) , a People Analyst for Klaviyo , there are many parallels between studying classical music and helping companies develop science-based approaches to employee development.

“Engaging in practice as a musician taught me work ethic, patience, and approaching problems methodically,” Ott-Holland says. “As a classical singer, I’d have to break a piece of music down into different components: my understanding and connection with text; the language and its pronunciation; the rhythm; the pitches; and how the music manifested in my voice. This process is still the way I approach analytical work today.”

As a people analyst, Ott-Holland applies several different types of research methods to understand people, processes, and systems. Beyond her problem-solving strategy, Ott-Holland taps the skills she cultivated as a performer to communicate complex ideas to stakeholders.

“The analytical work I do in the background is quite technical, and at the end of the day, I have to make a judgment of what I want conveyed to my audience,” Ott-Holland says. “I think the best musicians and scientists are committed to detail and craftsmanship, and dedicate themselves to the work ‘under the hood’ that their audiences won’t fully see or appreciate. We have to translate the technical for the broader world.”

Ott-Holland says her musical training also instilled the importance of giving, receiving, and applying constructive comments—a value that she brings to her professional relationships.

“As a music student, I would participate in a weekly studio class in which students would perform for each other and give each other feedback,” Ott-Holland says. “This practice creates a culture of learning. You realize you need to provide meaningful feedback to your peers if you want to receive meaningful feedback from them. I carry this mindset as part of how I collaborate as a researcher: How can I help advance the work of others? How can I best invite others to help me refine and improve my work?”

Ultimately, Ott-Holland’s experiences as a young vocalist provided the individualized guidance and confidence to pursue her personal and professional interests.

“Studying music from a young age gave me an opportunity to connect my ‘extracurricular’ activities to my future ambitions, and to imagine a future professional self,” she says. “It also gave me the opportunity to get one-on-one attention from adults who invested in me and saw potential in me beyond what I saw in myself. I feel extremely privileged when I think back to the caliber of teachers who instructed and coached me on an individual basis.”

Leading through collaboration

When asked how her passion for music evolved into a career in science, Arts Academy flute alumna Heather Dion (IAA 90-92) doesn’t hesitate.

“Jack Randall was the chemistry teacher at Interlochen when I was at the Academy, and he is the reason I am a chemist,” Dion says. “I had always been interested in science, but he brought the field to life.”

Dion went on to study chemistry in college, and currently serves as Program Director for Global Security Emerging Threats at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Although Dion no longer plays the flute, the drive she honed as a music student is a powerful asset in her scientific career.

“One of the things that you learn very early on, especially if you’re serious enough about your art to go to boarding school or spend your whole summer at arts camp, is dedication,” she says. “Artists tend to be very driven people. The dedication that you develop through practicing your art is intense and often all-consuming. All of the skills that I developed—learning how to focus and lean deeply into something—were transferable to my work.”

Dion notes that many of her colleagues at Los Alamos also have artistic backgrounds—a testament to the link between creativity and success in STEM careers.

“There’s a really strong tie between math and music,” she says. “You find that there are a lot of non-professional musicians within the science and engineering communities; I personally know a lot of people in scientific fields who are musicians or artists of other types.”

Just as musical ensembles thrive when all members play their parts, Dion seeks a variety of voices when faced with complex challenges.

“I’m a collaborative leader, and I don’t say that lightly,” she says. “Tackling a difficult problem is about finding a diversity of opinion. You’re a single point in the problem, and it’s foolish to say that you’re the only solution. One of the things I value as a manager is transparency, and the only way to have true transparency is to show that you value other opinions.”

Despite her shift from classical music to chemistry, Dion considers her time at Interlochen a pivotal part of her personal and professional journey.

“Interlochen was a transformative experience for me,” Dion says. “Without Interlochen, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

Visualizing the future

Lauren Braun (IAC 94-98, IAC St 03) has been using art to share her ideas for as long as she can remember.

“As a child, I found that the way I like to express myself best was through the visual medium—through drawing and making things,” Braun says. “I started cultivating my ability to bring things to life visually in two and even three dimensions by studying the visual arts.”

Braun earned a degree in art history before pursuing advanced studies—and ultimately, a career—in human-centered design. Today, she utilizes many of her artistic skills as a Product Manager at Apple.

“My role as a ‘product person’ is to really care about the product I’m working on, which happens to be the Apple Watch right now,” she says. “I attribute my ability to understand the translation between a 3D object with 2D visuals into how a consumer might understand the product all the way back to my arts education.”

Braun frequently uses the visual and expressive capacities she’s honed since her youth to share her vision for a product with other members of her team.

“One of the biggest skills I use is visual expression—taking concepts that are amorphous and drawing or describing them in such a way that someone else can visualize them,” she says. “You have to paint a picture or tell a story about how the product is going to work, how a feature is going to come to life, or how a user is going to experience that feature. I see that skill as a direct line from my arts training, and I think that’s something that has made me successful and sets me apart from some of my peers.”

When faced with a difficult problem, Braun uses a similar approach to Ott-Holland’s—with a hands-on, visual twist.

“I like to do what one of my professors called ‘breaking the fog into cubes,’” she says. “That means methodically separating out the pieces of the problem. I often do this in a 2D way; I write or draw every aspect on Post-It notes, then arrange them visually in a space such as a whiteboard, the ground, or my desk. From there, I find the groupings, see what things are related, what things are missing, and use that map of the problem to structure a solution.”

Braun also credits her artistic training with helping her embrace uncertainty in her professional life.

“My position is all about making the best decisions, given a lot of trade-offs, and with incomplete information,” she says. “Creativity plays a role in imagining what’s missing and understanding how an experience will feel and how a product will be perceived. My arts background has helped me be comfortable being creative and starting from a blank slate."

Finding connection and inspiration

Although Ott-Holland, Dion, and Braun ultimately pursued careers outside the arts, their creative roots still serve as sources of joy and inspiration in their personal and professional lives.

Braun maintains a personal artistic practice when time allows, and has become a passionate supporter of the visual arts both in San Francisco and beyond.

“I actively collect art and travel around the world to see it,” Braun says. “My partner and I are going to the Venice Biennale this year because we’re very interested and invested in visual culture. That means I also get to be very active in the arts community here in San Francisco.”

Dion and her husband—who is also a chemist with a musical background—enjoy exploring New Mexico’s thriving artistic ecosystem.

“One of the things that is terrific about living near Santa Fe is that it’s an arts-vibrant community,” she says. “While I don’t have time to take full advantage of everything that’s available, my husband and I subscribe to the Santa Fe Symphony, and we try to attend performances at least once a month or once a quarter. We like to challenge ourselves to see shows we wouldn’t normally choose.”

Ott-Holland’s passion for the performing arts has enabled her to deepen her connection to her city while nurturing relationships.

“When I moved to San Francisco after graduate school, I quickly filled my calendar with opera, symphony, ballet, and chamber music performances,” Ott-Holland says. “I took many of my non-musician friends and colleagues—including my husband—to their first opera. When my family moved to Denver, I was off to see all kinds of performances and shows. It very quickly helped me feel part of the city.”

For both Dion and Ott-Holland, attending performances is also a way to stay connected to the Interlochen community.

“The principal second violin of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra went to Interlochen around the same time that I attended,” Dion says. “I remember looking at the program and saying, ‘Look at that! An Interlochen alum!’”

“I always have a lot of fun attending performances and reading through the bios of performers to see if I’m watching another Interlochen alum,” Ott-Holland says.

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Publications, unlocking your creative potential with ai: an ethical guide for college students.

Unlocking Your Creative Potential with AI: An Ethical Guide for College Students

You live in the Age of AI. Accept it. Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn't just a buzzword — it's a tool at your fingertips, ready to propel your creativity into new dimensions. As college students, you're at the forefront of this exciting frontier, where AI can serve as a muse, a mentor, and a collaborator. But, to steal from Stan Lee, “with great power comes great responsibility.” AI adds new capabilities all the time. Just last month, OpenAi announced the ability to create high-quality, professional-level video from text prompts. If not now, very soon every one of you will use these tools in your daily life, and it is imperative that you understand how to do so ethically. I suggest starting with one of the most exciting uses for AI - to inspire your creativity. Here’s how you can ethically harness AI to ignite your creativity, both within the hallowed halls of academia and beyond.

Understanding the Ethical Use of AI

Before we jump into the creative uses of AI, let's set the stage for what constitutes ethical usage. Ethically using AI means respecting copyright laws, giving credit where it’s due, and ensuring that the AI’s actions align with your personal, institutional, and societal values and norms. It's about using AI to enhance human capabilities, not replace them, and ensuring that AI's application doesn't harm individuals or communities. Remember, AI does not and cannot replace the human element of our work or absolve us of responsibility for the work we create using it. Enough of the preaching, here are some fun uses of Ai to spark your creativity.

AI as Your Creative Assistant

Writing and literature:.

Illustration of GPT Prompt Outlining A Story About the End of World Image

AI-Powered Brainstorming : Use AI writing assistants to overcome writer's block or jumpstart a writing project. Input your theme or topic, and let the AI generate ideas, prompts, or even storylines. Remember, these suggestions are starting points — the real creative work is in how you expand and build on them.

Example : I was playing with ChatGPT and exploring different authorial voices (“pretend you are” prompts) and got to a point where I was mashing together Cormac McCarthy and T.S. Eliot and asked ChatGPT to tell me a story about how the world ends with both a bang and a whimper. Here’s the link to a similar outline that could be used as a prompt for a pretty interesting story .

Language Learning with AI Image

Language Learning : Harness AI language tools to learn new languages, broadening your cultural horizon and literary understanding, thus enriching your writing with diverse perspectives.

Example : While this may not seem “creative” at the surface level, learning a new language and about the cultures that speak that language is an amazing gateway to understanding new ideas, new perspectives and expanding your own creative horizons. Here is what ChatGPT proposes as a starting place .

Art and Design:

Design Exploration : AI can quickly generate design alternatives – from graphic art to architectural models. Use these as inspiration to develop your unique creations. Creative Collaboration : Engage with AI art programs that evolve your input in unexpected ways, merging AI's computational power with your artistic vision.

Example : I was bored one day so I began feeding lines of my favorite poems into one of the AI image generators. Here are some lines from Robert Browning’s Childe Roland with accompanying Ai images. This was a nice way to bring the poem to life and give me a different perspective on it.

First AI Illustration of Robert Browning’s Childe Roland Poem

My first thought was, he lied in every word, That hoary cripple, with malicious eye Askance to watch the working of his lie On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.

Second AI Illustration of Robert Browning’s Childe Roland Poem

There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met To view the last of me, a living frame For one more picture! in a sheet of flame I saw them and I knew them all. And yet Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, And blew. "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came."

Ai and Audio Generated Music Image

Music and Audio:

Composition Aids : Experiment with AI that suggests chord progressions, melodies, or beats based on the mood or genre you're exploring. Use these ideas as the foundation for your musical composition.

Example : I am not a musician or composer, so make of this what you will. Prompt: “Write a new musical composition suggesting cord progressions and melodies and beats based on the collaborative work of David Bowie and Brian Eno .”

Example 2: “Write the lyrics to accompany the song just outlined.”

Research and Academia:

Research and Academia Image

Idea Generation : Use AI to explore research topics, summaries, or literature reviews. AI can help you identify gaps in current research, which you can aim to fill with your work. Data Analysis : Implement AI tools for complex data analysis, allowing you to focus on interpreting the results and crafting innovative solutions to research problems.

Example : I’m taking this example outside the realm of my own scholarship (technological literacy) to a more personal example of one of my other interests – horror literature. I mentioned a play session earlier when I was having ChatGPT act like famous people. One of those was my favorite author, Stephen King. I’m an avid “Constant Reader” and have recently been going back through King’s entire catalogue accompanied by the Loser’s Club . When I recently got to Pet Sematary, I started to think about a particular idea related to the story that moves it into an area even darker and more ominous than the book already is. That conversation prompted me to start thinking about all of the other ambiguities in King’s work that provide different interpretations of the stories if read through another lens. This led to me outlining my own podcast, Kinspiracy Theories, pursuing these darker interpretations of some of Kings work. Stay tuned for the first episode talking about Pet Sematary later this year.

The Creative Ethos of AI Usage

While AI can open doors to new creative realms, ethical use is paramount. Here are some tips for making sure you are using these tools in ways that enhance your capabilities while also remaining true to the spirit of integrity that defines academia.

  • Attribution : Always credit the AI tools and platforms you use. Transparency about the role of AI in your creative process is crucial.
  • Originality : AI should support your original work, not replace it. Use AI-generated ideas as a springboard for your creativity, not the final product.
  • Privacy : Be mindful of privacy concerns. When using AI that learns from user input, ensure that no sensitive personal data is shared.
  • Bias Awareness : Understand that AI models can have built-in biases. Strive to recognize these biases and avoid perpetuating them in your creative work.
  • Legal and Academic Standards : Adhere to legal and academic standards, especially regarding plagiarism. AI can help you learn and explore, but your submissions should always be your own work.

AI is like a new color on the palette of your creativity — one that can bring depth and vibrancy to your canvas. As you navigate your intellectual journey, let AI be the wind beneath your creative wings, pushing you towards innovation and exploration. But remember, you are steering the boat!

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Crafting a Screencasting Persona

Any faculty member who wants to produce a video needs to really think about how they are coming across to their audience and what harm they may be doing to the image of academics with a poor production. A Nov. 12, 2012 article by Jenny Rogers in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Old, Boring, White, and Mean: How Professors Appear on the Small Screen, further illustrates this point and cites the rapid proliferation of flipped classrooms, screencast lectures, and academics on every possible social media outlet as a potential detriment to the future of web-based teaching. That said here are some tips for crafting an online educator persona using Salman Khan and the Plaid Avenger as role models.

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A Brave New World of Higher Education

Welcome to 2024. If 2023 ushered in the dawn of the era of AI, then I suspect 2024 will see a deeper embrace of AI as a tool that we start to develop an understanding of how best to use to make our lives easier, make our work more efficient, and to expand our capabilities as educators.

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All I Want for Christmas Is to Know How to Deal With AI-Assisted Cheating

The rapid evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has brought about groundbreaking changes in various sectors, including education. However, with these advancements comes a new challenge for faculty in higher education: AI-assisted cheating.

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Stop College Students from Entering the Age of Ultron

Welcome to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) everyone! Imagine Tony Stark, the iconic Iron Man from the Marvel Universe, in his high-tech lab, crafting his advanced suit with a blend of engineering prowess, creative genius, artificial intelligence, and unparalleled adaptability. This is an apt metaphor for the current landscape of higher education, particularly as students prepare to enter a world increasingly shaped by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and all of its potential and possible peril.

ASU faculty bring awareness to sexual violence through creative works

​According to the United Nations, sexual violence is a global health pandemic .

“It affects every kind of person, every kind of workplace and domestic space, and every level of society,” says Sally Kitch , University Professor and Regents Professor of women's and gender studies at Arizona State University.

That’s one of the themes of a new book released this march, which is co-edited by Kitch and Dawn Gilpin , associate professor in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Cover of the book "Art, Activism, and Sexual Violence."

“ Art, Activism, and Sexual Violence ,” for which Kitch and Gilpin are also contributing authors, “hopes to demonstrate the power of art to express the harms caused by sexual violence and to counteract them.”

ASU News spoke with Kitch and Gilpin to learn more.

Editor's note: Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Question: What are the themes or messages conveyed in this book?

Sally Kitch: The book has multiple themes and offers multiple messages. They include:

• Sexual violence is more about power than about sex. Sex is weaponized to enforce gendered expectations and hierarchies. ... Ninety percent-plus of sexual violence is committed by men against women or people perceived to be feminine, including gay men.

• The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown reinforced the relationship between male disappointment and constriction … and female victimization by sexual violence and coercive control.

• The emotional effects of sexual violence victimization can last a lifetime.

• The works discussed and displayed in this volume … demonstrate art’s ability to articulate, explore, complicate and signify the impact of sexual violence.

Related event:

 'Art Combatting Sexual Violence' 4–6 p.m. Thursday, April 4 Ross-Blakley Hall, Tempe campus

Q: Were there any challenges or obstacles you faced while writing this book?

Dawn Gilpin: Trying to find contributors to represent the broadest range of artistic genres and circumstances. With a subject matter as complex and pervasive as sexual violence, it is impossible to address every situation, but we wanted to be as inclusive as possible. We’re quite proud of the roster of artists and authors we have managed to assemble, but we also felt the need to include a chapter specifically addressing some of the gaps within it.

Q: Who is your target audience, and what do you hope they take away from this book?

Portrait of Sally Kitch.

Kitch: " Art, Activism, and Sexual Violence" will appeal to scholars and students from a wide range of fields.

Interdisciplinary scholars … will appreciate the volume’s integration of the humanities, social sciences and arts appropriate to their approaches to compelling social challenges. … Scholars and students of criminology, law, political science, social work and mass communication will find the volume’s consideration of sexual violence in the context of art both refreshing and beneficial, as sexual violence is so often mediated by solely legal and political frameworks or discussed sensationally by the media.

Because of the book’s blend of art and activism, it will also interest women’s rights proponents and policymakers working to prevent and address the scourge of sexual violence in societies around the world. Readers interested in contemporary activist art across many genres will also find the book useful.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Kitch: As I began my academic career teaching writing, and even published a composition textbook, I am especially serious about writing as a way to understand the world, and even our own ideas. It is truly the case that writing helps us know what we believe or understand. Writing opens the brain and deepens its function.

Portrait of Dawn Gilpin.

Gilpin: Writing is one of the most challenging activities we can engage in. The process requires us to clarify our thoughts and develop arguments, engage deeply with ideas and struggle to find the precise language to express them. The work pays off, but anyone who has tried to write knows it can sometimes be hard to get started, and harder to keep going. I am a big fan of the messy first draft, allowing thoughts to flow onto the page. There is always time to worry about editing later. The shortest path to the writing graveyard is to let our inner editor’s voice take over too soon.

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2 Issue 2 : Local-Eyes!

Partizaning's first year - an exhibition in December at Vostochnaya Gallery showing a year's worth of projects. (Photo (c) Partizaning)

Partizaning's first year - an exhibition in December at Vostochnaya Gallery showing a year's worth of projects. (Photo (c) Partizaning)

Partizaning: participatory art, research and creative urban activism

Partizaning leverages artistic interventions in Moscow’s public spaces as tools for social research and transformation, blurring the boundaries between everyday life, urbanism, activism and art.

P artizaning (v): public art practices which strategically challenge, shape, and reinvent urban and social realities.

The last several years have witnessed increased visibility and importance given to DIY cultures and tactical urbanism in cities across the USA, Canada and Europe. This is partially as a response to the financial crisis and limited resources for city maintenance and development, and resistance to the forms of neoliberal urban development. Active, creative citizens have begun to address the inadequacies of government functions, using temporary, creative interventions to suggest alternative realities.

DIY cultures are not new: most recently, they have long existed in Latin America, parts of Asia and in the former USSR (as well as other parts of the world, at different points in time), where capital-led urbanism was not the norm and people lived in circumstances of scarcity. These DIY traditions have demonstrated people’s ingenuity as the best solution in times of necessity; people can invent and deftly make do, especially in the city.

The tactical urbanism movement – led mostly by planners and architects – has built on DIY action in a strategic struggle for bottom up or grassroots urban planning. The same phenomenon is referred to as ‘urban hacking’ in parts of Europe. But what all of these actions share are active resistance and citizen participation in the processes and developments in our cities.

Partizaning’s first documentation exhibition in Amsterdam. (Image (c) Partizaning)

In Russia, we are witnessing a form of strategic, bottom-up urbanism being led by artists who work in the streets and writers, rather than by architects and planners. Creative people are working in public spaces to express themselves and to create dialogues with authorities and with other citizens. In this article I discuss the work I am doing as a member of the project Partizaning, leveraging artistic interventions in public space as a tool for social research and transformation; blurring the boundaries between everyday life, urbanism, activism and art.

Our idea is not to propose a new form of DIY urbanism, but to transform the idea of a top-down, expert planned city into one where residents are active stakeholders in the place they live; a space where they have a right to lead the lives they choose. I explain how we connect the ideas of DIY-ism and participation, as well as how Partizaning is a strategy which is aligned, but different from, tactical urbanism and conventional social art practices by its connection of research and process of creation.

In Context: Urban Planning in Russia

Partizaning’s map of the Moscow Metro which promotes our ideas of affordability, pedestrianism and walkability. (Image (c) Partizaning)

Russian cities are unique, complex entities. Following the revolution in 1917, all Russian land was nationalized and socialized, transferred to State or local authorities. The houses once belonging to the bourgeoisie were divided into accommodation for the proletariat. The collapse of a traditional spatial order required new planning approaches. At the time, ideas of a ‘socialist city’ were debated in terms of the concepts of two groups: the urbanists and dis-urbanists. Dis-urbanists wanted to dissolve the difference between town and country, while Urbanists proposed a contained expansion and planning of existing cities. The Garden City, an idea that flourished in the West, also became a starting point for the Soviet suburb. All this was resolved by the top-down functional and central planning in the form of high-rise apartments with wide-ranging amenities like schools and clinics located nearby. These ‘microrayon’ structures continue to exist today and present just one aspect or challenge of contemporary urban living in Russian cities.

A game about urban tactics which we created and disseminated online and in print. (Photo (c) Partizaning)

After the collapse of the USSR, the country saw the growth of economy and a construction boom as a result of privatization. The Western model of a city and urban development began to take root; but after 20 years of post-Soviet development, most people still live in a reality which created by and for a centrally planned economy. How is this shift to a capital system possible without removing all ideals of social equity?

Reversing urban gentrification with a DIY platform and discussion in Dusseldorf. (Photo (c) Christian Ahlborn)

Russian cities as they now exist are struggling with remnants of Soviet-era urban planning and the development of a neoliberal form of the city. Although highly organized, these plans were not created for people to experience life in the city. Architects and bureaucratic planners promoted ideals like creating social equality through infrastructure and access. But ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent privatization of space in the city, there have been many recurring urban issues worldwide, such as traffic, over-consumption and trash generation and resource overuse, each with an environmental impact.

So the idea of a ‘partizan’ re-emerges in this contemporary context of resistance and urban revolution. In Russian, the word means ‘guerrilla’ and the idea we promote is resistance to this form of urban development and engage people in the processes shaping their cities – advocating a sense of creative responsibility. With it, we are seeking to promote a new ideal and a new vision for cities – constructed by and for people, based on their explicit involvement and dialogues. Our work straddles the worlds of art and urbanism: we work in the city and with the public but use artistic venues as just one forum for sharing our ideas.

Partizaning: Participatory Urban Re-planning

The DIY mobile discussion platform to activate abandoned railway tracks in the city. (Photo (c) Partizaning)

The website Partizaning emerged at the end of 2011 as an online project documenting examples of urban interaction and participation, whether social, political, environmental or anything else. Meant to inspire people, we show examples of projects in the public realm as creative achievements of social transformation through DIY and participatory actions. The site is managed by an interdisciplinary group of artists and researchers in two languages, because we realized that the project resonates, not only in Russia but as an idea taking root in cities around the world. So we document projects and people who work with the language of art to transform urban contexts worldwide.

A Public mailbox which we installed in Troparevo Nikulino. (Photo (c) Partizaning)

Part of our goal is to reorient the city around people and their goals and ways of life, rather than around expertise and bureaucracy. We recognize the important role of creativity as commentary and suggestion, while advocating people’s involvement, because residents know the city best and sometimes just need the tools to participate, or to express or converse ideas about it. The problem with how cities have developed is that they are perceived as places of work instead of sites of play and living. If you think of the city as an extension of your home, it is different. You are more willing to plant trees, to clean up trash, to decorate it, to repair it. But this is not an idea that is widely held – people are generally confined to their homes, their cars, and are restricted in public space. Partizaning proposes the idea that unsanctioned repairs and improvements can collectively help to re-create a better city. We have done things like made DIY benches, painted crosswalks and created maps and signs that promote an alternate trajectory for the city.

Scans of the mail received during the Cooperative Urbanism project. (Image (c) Partizaning)

We are motivated by a conflation of art and urbanism and are inspired by the role of the Situationists and of street art and urban interventions which fall into the realm of revolutionary urban and social activism. In Russia and internationally, we engage in participatory processes based on research and culminating in interventions in public space. We think of these interventions more as a process and dialogue. Apart from projects, we try to promote creative grassroots urbanism and participation by giving lectures, presentations and conducting workshops in various cities. We also try to produce a bulletin which is occasionally printed as another format for people to interact with some of our ideas.

Cooperative Urbanism

Public surveys in Amsterdam during the Kunstvlaai Festival. (Photo (c) Partizaning)

In 2012, we did a project based on installing Public Mailboxes in outlying districts of Moscow. An experiment in the idea of collaboration and in the concept of cooperation in the city, we tried to get people to communicate their urban challenges and desires by leaving us anonymous mail. Our goal was to work with the idea of how people could reorganize their city from the bottom up and engage in processes that are generally impenetrable. What we found was that creating unsanctioned and unwatched forums in public space involved children and the elderly, who had varied and different suggestions and ways of using the mailboxes. As part of this project, the mail was scanned and shared with participating municipal authorities who could respond to people’s concerns – but the other part of the project was to encourage people to be the agents of urban change in their own neighbourhoods, particularly if they already knew the problem.

What Should Happen to Sint Nicolaas Lyceum?

In Amsterdam, as part of the Kunstvlaai Festival, we put up large format posters surveying residents in the district under transformation for insights about a building that was going to be demolished. We found people to be apathetic about future changes in their city and wanted to facilitate a public dialogue. This is another way in which we have sought to promote the idea of urban participation in varied contexts.

We are interested in how to facilitate and moderate user-oriented cities, promoting the belief that residents know best what they need and how they should behave in a moderated dialogue with other activists and experts. But one of the concerns and challenges we faces is truly involving overlooked and minorities in the city – voices that remain unheard and invisible, but are part of the urban fabric. In cities like St. Petersburg, Moscow, Amsterdam and Dusseldorf we find that our projects are invariably used by voices that don’t have forums for expression – or become taken over by those who seek to control the socially unaccepted.

Ultimately, as researchers, artists and urbanists, we find ourselves trying to use the language of art as a tool for inquiry to understand urban processes and facilitate a form of participation based on art and ideas of inclusion. To what extent we are successful can be debated, but as an experiment we believe that art in the city has a right to public space and interaction in the same way all urban residents do.

Shriya Malhotra is an urban researcher and intervention artist based in Moscow with Partizaning . She has an MA in Cities and Urbanization from the New School and collaborates on participatory art and process based projects that highlight the unseen or unusual aspects about cities and urban life.

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It is difficult to assess Margarita Tupitsyn’s new book,  Moscow Vanguard Art, 1922–1992 , because of its strong spirit of partisanship. It covers wide historical ground and brings in a lot of new material gathered from primary sources, but it is also unabashedly selective, its choices circumscribed by the author’s personal history. A well-known art historian and curator of Russian and Soviet avant-garde art, Tupitsyn belongs to the generation of intellectuals who came of age during the period of stagnation and decline of the Soviet Union. The history she narrates belongs to this period fully and inextricably. Her important contribution to the field is to be one of the first and most consistent specialists to write about the formerly marginal subject of Russian and Soviet art, which has come to the attention of mainstream art history in the West only in the past fifty years. The author’s personal participation in this history forms an important part of the book and contributes to its strengths and weaknesses. Beginning in the 1970s, she was first a participant and later an organizer of the key events and exhibitions described in her book. Thus, her narration comes not only from her vast knowledge of history and theoretical literature, but also from her own experience. This personal element is reflected in the fact that Tupitsyn writes only about artists from Moscow, Russia’s capital and its largest and most developed city, where she was born and raised and socialized with many of the artists she describes in her book. This focus is a positive aspect of the book, as the author narrows down the topic to what she knows best. Tupitsyn’s decision to embrace “vanguard” art under a wide chronological umbrella is more problematic because she traces a direct parallel between the avant-garde of the early 1920s and experiments conducted by Moscow artists after Stalin’s death during the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras. Tupitsyn talks about art in terms of its accepting or, the contrary, confronting the dominant political structure. This argument makes sense within an oppositional framework of a “left” versus “right” political struggle, but it dismisses a “gray” area in-between, which may be most interesting of all in the realm of aesthetics as it questions and often negates the polar divisions. In this sense, Tupitsyn’s reading of “vanguard” art is limited by its insertion into this oppositional structure.

As an actual participant of the many events she chronicles, Tupitsyn certainly has a story to tell. The book captures this story vividly, documenting it with numerous illustrations and photographs, some featuring the author herself. In the introduction to the book, she explains some of her choices by referencing her interest in the particularity of a “milieu” surrounding the artist, “with its perpetual mechanism of conversing” (1). Tupitsyn’s story is connected with the tradition of experimental and political art or “art in context,” which, she explains, demonstrably veers away from the concept of aesthetic purity propagated by Clement Greenberg in particular. Bearing in mind the specificity of Tupitsyn’s point of view, the book uncovers layers of history from published and unpublished sources. As a counterbalance to her personal involvement in the history she writes, Tupitsyn aptly quotes liberal philosophers, cultural critics, and art historians from Ernst Bloch to Michel Foucault and her teacher Rosalind Krauss to make or amplify her argument about the experimental nature of avant-garde thinking and production and its continuity through generations of Moscow artists.

The book has seven chapters, roughly a chapter per decade of the narrated history. The first two cover the decades before World War II, before the author’s lifetime. Tupitsyn begins with a story of an ideological and personal rivalry between Kazimir Malevich, the leading painter of nonobjective art, and a certain Evgeny Katsman, his brother-in-law, who turned out to be among the leading propagandists of conservative visual culture, later endorsed by Stalin and the officially supported Academy of Arts. Tupitsyn weaves an intricate narrative based on Katsman’s diaries, which reads almost like a detective novel. It reveals Katsman as a man ruthless in his attempts to destroy his rival both in art and in life, going as far as meeting with Stalin personally to plead the cause against the avant-garde. Tupitsyn makes Katsman’s diary a foil against which she develops her story of the foundation and functioning of such conservative artistic collectives as AKhRR (Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia) and Malevich, the protagonist of the avant-garde’s fight against the reactionary tendencies exemplified by the ideology propagated by Katsman. In this chapter, she touches on the key issues of this standoff: the debate about the teaching tendencies in VKhUTEMAS (Higher Artistic-Technical Workshops); the progressive role of Anatoly Lunacharsky, who promoted avant-gardists in the early 1920s; and the government support behind Die Erste Russische Ausstellung in Berlin in 1922, to which apparently only “left” artists were invited. It was interesting to learn, for example, that AKhRR was founded as a reaction to this exclusion as well as a means to associate with the Wanderers, an established group of nineteenth-century realist painters whose agenda, Tupitsyn insists, was much more progressive in its day than that of AKhRR. Tupitsyn’s listings of AKhRR’s exhibitions and her detailed chronicling of its confrontations with theoreticians affiliated with LEF (Left Front of the Arts) is helpful in reminding the reader of the fundamental difference between the approaches of the “right” and the “left” artistic factions: the rear guard aspired to study the conditions of people’s everyday lives and “depict [them] naturalistically,” while the avant-garde “imagined the proletariat not as subject of art, but as its participatory force” (11). This formulation of the pivotal ideological difference between the conservative and the progressive factions in Soviet art touches on the question of the conservatives’ idealization, the progressives’ utopia, and the loss of the reality principle in both camps. Tupitsyn weaves in the stories about other artists, such as Vladimir Tatlin, Alexander Rodchenko, and El Lissitzky, but in her choosing the Malevich-Katsman rivalry as the guiding thread of her argument, she creates a structure resembling that of a phallic, pre-oedipal standoff. In this dualistic confrontation, the raging competitors need each other in order to release their aggression against one another, but in fact the enemy they fight is invincible, because without it, their existence would be devoid of sense. This penchant toward analyzing art from the political perspective of the fight of the “left” against the “right” without giving the issues of aesthetics any consideration makes Tupitsyn argue against a growing interest of Western scholars in a comprehensive study of Socialist Realism, which she raises in the second chapter of her book.

In line with other histories of Soviet nonconformist art, Tupitsyn locates the possibility for a continuation of the spirit of the avant-garde with the death of Stalin, the concomitant end of terror, and the onset of Khrushchev’s thaw. The period from the 1940s to the 1950s is associated for the author with the resurgent interest of the Moscow artists in abstraction. In chapter 3, the author traces the development of this line of artistic thought in the work of Vladimir Nemukhin, Lydia Masterkova, Vladimir Yankilevsky, among others, including such relatively unknown names in the West as Vladimir Slepian and Mikhail Chernyshov. Artists doing three-dimensional work in open air, such as Francisco Infante, Lev Nussberg, and his Movement Group are also included, as well as early works by Ilya Kabakov and Erik Bulatov. Kabakov and Bulatov are well-known artists who resurface in subsequent chapters dedicated chiefly to performance and immigrant art from the 1970s and continuing through the 1980s and 1990s. While developing a convincing chronology of key exhibitions and events that spurred the development of the underground art scene, Tupitsyn excludes several notable names. In the section on abstractionists, important artists, such as Mikhail Shvartsman, are absent, for example. In the section on immigrant art in New York, a recently deceased Leonid Lamm is missing. This is especially surprising because Tupistyn worked with Lamm, having included him in her Sots Art exhibition at the New Museum in 1986, and authored essays and even a book about him. The reader is left guessing about the criteria of the author’s selection. The book has an index, but at times the page numbers do not correspond to the exact mention of a name, as is the case with the group Medical Hermeneutics.

Tupistyn’s book continues an impressive series of her publications, produced in the course of more than thirty-five years. She has always been a strong voice of support for the kind of art she writes about—politically involved and outspoken—which in many ways reflects her own personality. Perhaps partisanship in writing histories is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, nowadays it may be impossible to write a good history without taking sides and making clear which ideology you support. In this particular book, however, the author pushes this principle to its limit, making the reader wonder what is missing as a result of the personal choices she made.

Natasha Kurchanova Independent Art Historian

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