Why do I think art is important in the lives of our youth?
I truly believe art creates points of connection. I’m talking about creative choices leading to experiences and relationships. As a kid, you have the ability to absorb so much in the right environment. As you grow, your mind wanders to so many other things but if you have developed your creative side, that part of your brain will always comfort you. Colors, textures, mark-making and molding shapes help to communicate your senses in a way nothing else can do and can bring you focus even in the toughest times.
When I see a young person create something, whether is has beauty or seems to show a collective series of risks, the work almost always inspires me and gives me an understanding of their senses. Receptions and people viewing youth art is a very important part of the creative process for any young artist. Young artists and their work say so much about their lives. I always ask young artists, “what is it about?” The stories, their reasons for colors and stylistic ideas transcend what you may initially experience visually until you know what it all means.I remember my first day of school. I proudly wore a painting smock. I didn’t know any famous artists, but I knew I was an artist. I kept my big red pencil in my hand all day taking moments to draw, doodle and sketch what I experienced at school. At the end of the day, I showed my mom all of the drawings I did at school and she smiled and let me know how exciting my view of the world was to her. I remember thinking art was my chance to participate in a conversation about what it means to be alive, to be interacting with people outside of my family and in my community. It was amazing. I felt really lucky. I still do.
“The idea is to give the children opportunities, a vaster sense of life.” –Jeff Koons
I realize we all have a history to share and for young people, art gives them the freedom to interpret, experience and reflect. Art is not just about imagination, expression and creativity but it also develops self-confidence and self-discipline. Youth who have access to the arts as a communication tool think critically, appreciate other points of view and are open to new approaches for learning all subjects. If you consider young people learn through doing, the act of making something new and combining things in a new way reinforces their memories; reminds them their thoughts are valuable, and will serve as a personal resource for them to use every day of their lives.
Andee Rudloff is a professional artist, consultant and educator living and working in Tennessee and Kentucky. You can find some of her work at: chicNhair.com Andee is honored to serve as a guest blogger for STARS Nashville in March for Youth Art Month. Youth Art Month is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art and art education for all youth and to encourage support for quality school art programs.