A Tale of Two Sisters
Itisalwaysapleasurehaving artdepartmentwithfriends.Sheusu- After High School siblingsinartclass.Others allystayedhercircle,andhummed Annwenttocollegewithafewschol- agree,andoftenrespondwith andtalkedherwaythroughherwork. arshipsandwiththegoalofbecoming “Wow,inart!Theymustbeso Ann’sworkcenteredaroundpat- atextiledesigner.Shefinishedwith
muchalike!”Inoneparticularcase, terns.Thecolors,lines,andshapes honorsandfortwoyears,workedas
however,therewereafewsimi- derivedfromherfascinationwith anareadesignerandtaughtdesign
larities,butnothingthatcouldn’tbe nature.Sheexplored,doodled, attheregionalcraftcenter.Recently,
explainedbybeingbroughtupinthe schemed,and Annlandedajob
samehousebythesameparents. producedcon- asadesignerfora
Art programs today need
the flexibility and support
AnnandKate forherartworkin Yorkdesignfirm.
to reach students both
Thesetwosiblingswerefiveyears herinvestigative Kateisinher
apart,sotheyneveroverlappedin sketchbooks. firstyearatan
cognitively and emotionally.
highschoolormiddleschool.Older Kate’swork areacollegefor
sister,let’scallherAnn,andyounger appearedtobemorerealistic,but fineartsandhasnotlostsightofher
sister,Kate,ifyouwill,bothenjoyed wastingedwithnarrative.Kateran goalofdesigningtattooandbodyart.
artimmensely.Asamatteroffact,art throughtheusualhonorscurriculum Bothsiblingsreceivedthesameedu-wastheirsubjectofchoiceandboth andstartedtoworkmorepersonally cationfromthesameeducators.How-foundwaystospendasmuchtime andwiththemesthatexpressedher ever,beyondthelessons,portfolio
intheartdepartmentaspossiblein feelings.Kateaddedtoherownart- prep,andextracurricularwork,both
eachoftheirrespectivejuniorand workbywayofhersketchbook,and receiveddifferentbenefitsandtook
senioryears.However,Anncameto savedideasforfuturegraphictattoos. differentdirections.
alone,andjumpintoherwork.Quiet hersisterAnnproducedsteadilyand BuildingFlexibility
wasbetter.Katepreferredtobeinthe thoroughly. Artprogramstodayneedtheflex-
Continued on page 48.
12 May/June2009 SchoolArts
Continued from page 12.
Circle No. 257 on Reader’s Service Card
cognitively and emotionally, and this
viewpoint needs to be evident for a
broad and deep perception. As Daniel
Pink explains in his book, A Whole
New Mind, factors such as design,
play, symphony, empathy, story, and
meaning can factor into thorough art
programming and have the twenty-first century in mind. Between Ann
and Kate, all of these factors played
a role in their success. A broad and
varied art program leaves no child
I relate this brief story of two sisters with my stepdaughter in mind.
She passed away last summer. She
would not have made it as far as she
did without the personal and therapeutic benefits found in art. Her art
expressed, communicated, and celebrated joys, while it also spoke about
My younger daughter uses art as a
center to her life in many ways and
plans to become an art educator.
How many children, even within
the same families, benefit in many
diverse ways through art and/or
design? Their personalities may draw
different benefits and attributes,
but that attests to its wide scope.
When art has the “whole” child at
center—its scope wide and varied
with the sensibilities of the twenty-first century in mind—then learning
and being become supercharged. Just
imagine art at the center of a school’s
Ralph Caouette is the art department
head for the Wachusett Regional School
District in Massachusetts, adjunct
instructor at Anna Maria College, and
is NAEA national secondary director.