SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2014

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 12 of 54

A D V O C A C Y same might be applicable to learn- ing to be more creative as well. The more students engage in art histori - cal inquiry and investigate the way great artists and designers approach their work, and the more opportuni - ties they have to study with a highly skilled art teacher or work alongside a A chievement of creative skill partnered with an open attitude toward innova - tion and invention does not come without effort, practice, and yes, enjoyment. However, all students can increase their creative potential if they have the resources to propel them forward. Coaching and Training Coaching and training can make a big difference in developing cre - ative potential in the artroom, just as they do in sports. Even though sports training involves exercises, rou - tines, and practice, all ath- letes will tell you that as they train, they know they are getting better at the game, and the better they get, the more confidence they have in their skills. In sports, athletes do not give up because a particular move did not work as planned. They exercise to fine tune the muscle groups involved in the move. While routine, exercise, and practice may sound like the antithesis of creativity, they are essential to the mastery of skills and the building of self-confidence. You have to believe in yourself, be willing to take reason - able risks, be sensitive to subtle shifts in position, and know when to think outside the playbook. Observation and Imitation Some coaches believe that the best and fastest way to learn a sport is to observe and imitate a champion. The Eldon Katter vative and creative thinking? For starters, how about exercises and practice involving perception? Perception is perhaps the most important part of visual arts education, perhaps even education in general. Per - ception exercises challenge students to see a problem from many viewpoints, to assess the need for change from different perspectives, to consider multiple possibilities, and to have the courage to ask "why not?" Perception exercises are concerned with changing and shifting our viewing points with a beginner's mind. Well-sequenced critical inquiry exer - cises combined with clearly articulated art studio problems can provide the necessary frameworks to practice focusing attention on the perception of mul - tiple possibilities, find- ing creative solutions, and fostering innovation. Excelling As students become more skill - ful in thinking creatively, they will find this has a powerful effect on their overall approach to life and learning. In later life, creativity will be useful in personal as well as profes - sional matters. A responsible, creative individual can initiate and innovate instead of waiting to be told what to do. This individual can solve prob - lems, generate useful and efficient alternatives for action, design systems and procedures, and make responsible decisions. All it takes to excel in any creative undertaking is training and practice combined with desire, effort, and enjoyment. Eldon Katter is co-author of Explorations in Art (Davis Publications) and former editor of SchoolArts. ekatter@ Art Athletics good visiting artist in the classroom, the greater their potential for mas - tering traditional skills and seeking innovative approaches to artistic prob - lem solving. Like armchair sports fans, students may learn to become conversant about art by observing from the side - lines, but they will only become inno- vative and creative individuals when they have a good art coach, regularly scheduled training, and ample oppor - tunities to practice their skills. Exercise and Practice So what exercises are involved in developing the basic aspects of inno - All students can increase their creative potential if they have the coaching and training to propel them forward. 8

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