And so we ask ourselves, “Why teach art?” And I think the answer is pretty clear. The world is not only black and white, our issues and daily trials and tribulations are not simple and cannot always be solved with a yes or no answer. Art is essential in teaching the expression of the gray areas and of those things that cannot be answered simply. If we take away are, we take away expression. When we start to take away expression, we take away creativity. Expression and creativity are what keeps humans alive and thinking and wondering.
If children are raised to only see things in black or white, right or wrong and yes or no, we are raising children to never see the margins, the in between or the gray areas and we are limiting them. Art is probably one of the most important ways a child can learn to express themselves. Ideas and thoughts that may not be able to spoken or spelled out, can be expressed by a drawing or painting. Allowing that freedom to children allows them to feel free to express themselves in a creative way. When a child is able to express themselves, there is no need for feelings and thoughts to be bottled up.
Teaching a child how to see art, how to “read” art is just as important as teaching them create art. When someone learns to look at art and see what it might be saying, see how it makes them feel, they are able to think abstractly, see the world in a different light without the limits of thinking situations or experiences can only be one way or the other. It honestly opens up a whole new world for them.
Speaking from a personal side of the issue, art allows a child to express feeling and emotions that if otherwise ignored can bottle up and create tension, depression and expression of these emotions in negative ways. Sometimes this can result in the child hurting themselves and even others. If they learn other ways to express themselves and to emote, it can possibly save their lives. The same can be said for teaching a child to enjoy art. Being able to look at art and see something in it that they can relate to can make all of the difference to a child and how they see the world.
When we take away art, we take away expression and creativty. When we take away art, we are limiting a child’s thinking, emotions and their ability to relate to the world. The world is not black or white, it is filled with colours and shapes and designs that can express just about anything. Art can save lives.