SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2012

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 16 of 52

advocacy Why Teach Art? sioned encounters with art as a journey of discovery and mastery of skills for all children. We foresaw that when kids embark on this journey, they can explore multiple ways to see and create objects and images in their environment. We knew that developing manual skills and guiding mastery will lead to positive work habits. We also understood that as young people pursue a world of diverse images and artistic processes, they can make profound connections with art-making traditions in other cultures as well as within their own communities. Why don't people value the arts more? How can we make sure that art programs get the credibility they deserve? As art teachers today, we still hold the belief that all kids deserve the opportunity to discover their enormous capacities for sensing, feeling, expressing, and responding to a wide range of emotions and ideas. So what exactly do art teachers do? Art Teachers know the positive difference art makes in an individual's life. Photo by Nancy Walkup. Eldon Katter I t's becoming a familiar story across the country: School budgets are tight, expenditures are carefully scrutinized, and raising taxes is arguable. Which programs are threatened with drastic cuts or extinction? Art, music, and physical education are always first on the chopping block. As a former art teacher, I keep asking myself, "Why don't people value the arts more? How can we make sure that art programs get the credibility they deserve?" Perhaps we might consider telling others why we became art teachers and exactly what we do. Why did We choose to Teach art? Perhaps we became art teachers because we knew, from personal experience, what a positive difference art makes in an individual's life. We envi- art Teacher's Guide For the most part, art teachers guide students in creating, interpreting, and evaluating visual forms made primarily for purposes of communication, decoration, expression, and celebration. As guides, art teachers map the most direct and effective routes for exploring and mastering artistic skills. They launch students on a lifelong journey of inquiry into the meaning and significance of their visual world, and they establish multiple pathways for the appreciation and understanding of visual forms in the natural and human landscape. Along the way, they challenge students with many opportunities to reflect on their explorations, discoveries, and progress. Continued on page 41. 14 November 2012 SchoolArts

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