Art is a deliberate recreation of a new and special reality that grows from one s response to life. It improves our existence by enhancing, changing and perpetuating our cultural composition. The great artist knows how to impose their particular illusion on the rest of mankind, proclaimed Guy de Mauspassant. Art improves our lives by directly and indirectly lift the morale of individuals, creating unity and social solidarity. Art creates awareness of social issues. Art may express and reflect the religious, political, and economical aspects of cultures.
Art is and can be what ever a culture says it is or what ever they want it to be. It involves all people, those who conceive the idea of the work, execute it, provide necessary equipment and materials, and people who make up the audience for the work. Art forms as diverse as architecture, body decoration, clothing manufacture, and memorial sculptures reflect social status. Art echoes the natural world. It gives order to the world and intensity to human life. Art is a means of communion as well as communication.
It provides pleasurable experiences along with cerebral wealth. Art also helps us to express our sentimental relations. It can beautify, surprise, inspire, stimulate imagination, inform, tell stories, and record history. As someone once said, Art is life. Therefore, as teachers, it is our jobs to teach students about life through art. We must have a penetrating comprehension ourselves of how art affects our society in order to teach our students to comprehend the complex purposes of art.
We must be aware of the global culture and heritage from which art emerges. For example when teaching our students art aesthetics, we must never let them think that there is only one way to view art. Students, and especially teachers, should be acceptable to all ways in which art evaluation can occur. Western aesthetics is based primarily on individuality, originality, permanence, and form. These factors cannot be applied to art from every culture. For example, African art is understood in terms of rites of passage, healing, power, control, and commerce.
Students must be taught to understand the principles of art as they are understood by the cultural group in which they belong in order to truly achieve global awareness and appreciation for art. Obviously, teachers must gain this awareness themselves before they can impart it to their students. Travel, physically or intellectually, is necessary for teachers who truly aspire to instill a devotion to open-mindedness and tolerance in their students. Furthermore, teachers themselves must be open to teaching about culturally diverse art, and learning the history and meaning of behind such pieces.
As teachers, we must constantly be open to expanding our base of knowledge and learning new information to share with our students. It is important to note that teaching art requires more than just looking at pictures, listening to music or watching a dance. To teach art in a truly meaningful way, principles of art history, production, criticism and aesthetics must be explored. Students must be taught to value not only the beauty of art, but also the meaning, elements and the history of art.
Students do not naturally look at a painting and know the principles contained in it, who created it and for what purpose. Students must learn how to view and critique art in order to understand it. This understanding can come from being immersed in an environment in which art is an essential component to learning. If art is integrated throughout the curriculum, and is not relegated to half an hour per week of drawing, cutting or pasting, then students can develop a love and understanding for a variety of creative experiences involving artistic expression.
An environment supportive of art development can be obtained in any classroom in which the teacher instills in the students a respect for the history, purpose and meaning of art. This doesn t mean that all students have to be great artists capable of completing outstanding works of art themselves; rather the implication is quite the opposite. Even students who are not great artists themselves are capable of appreciating, understanding, and perceiving art on a highly cognitive level. In order for this to happen students must experience for themselves the production of art using specific elements, principles and techniques.
Once they have tried to create a particular effect, it is important to show them the work of someone who mastered the task, and allow them to critique not only their own work, but also the work of the professional artist. It is only by attempting to create a piece of their own that students will truly understand how talented some artists are. Despite the benefits of art production and criticism, an environment truly conducive to artistic development must include both art history and art aesthetics. As mentioned before, it is to provide a culturally diverse perspective in these areas.