Heather A. Houzenga ~ Artist ~ Educator ~ Writer ~ Motivational Speaker
Everything that we can tangibly see, has been made by some creative individual. What have you added to the world of divine creativity?
Topics in the Art Education Conversation

Reasons for Teaching Art


Through an arts education, including creative writing, dance, theater, music, and the visual arts, an individual begins to realize their own potential and the self-satisfaction that comes along with being able to link up the world’s information with more freedom of expression. The skills that are present in an arts education develop the individuals’ fine motor skills that process the correlation of hand-eye transference, important in their growth and development. Though not all individuals’ eyes will perceive the world in the same way, the arts help the individual find their voice by being able to share their vantage through various mediums and points of view. The exploration of ideas and techniques in an intellectual forum gives the individual a freedom to risk trial and error, to weigh out the vast amount of possibilities and to come to a finite conclusion, which encompasses problem solving in an analytical and evaluative context, thus leading the individual to a higher esteem of their capabilities in any environment, leading to a perseverance in character, which in turn leads to more innovative leaders and creative thinkers.


History of Art Education


The Blind men and the Elephant and the Conversation Cafe metaphors both illustrate and represent all people and groups, organizations, etc have their own view of what a certain topic, more specifically art education in this event, should look like, the different parties and their views about that topic. While some may feel that the historical information and vocabulary is most important to learn, there are others who believe that the deep seeds must be planted in the structure of learning to draw, linking up hand-eye coordination. The trick is to get all of those groups to combine their ideas and make something great come out of their efforts for a better art education and the benefits that come from such an education and make it happen, leading the way for others to act, because art’s not one thing at all and it’s important to consider all angles of that complex puzzle.


Drawing Education


"Chapman argued that if everyone could write, then everyone could draw...everyone with ordinary abilities could learn how to draw, just as they could learn how to form letters"

As we develop our forms of letters and language, there is someone there working with us, helping us to perform what is acceptable. It is the same with art. If there is someone beside us, persuading our hands to produce the desired effect, then it will eventually be achieved. Drawing is another language, just as sculpture once told stories of ancient civilizations, adorning the architecture. It’s just as important to teach a child to learn the language of what they see with their eyes and perceive with their brains as it is to understand and interpret what an author’s intended moral is to a written story, what the artist’s meaning is behind the work (Georgia O-Keefe never meant for her flowers to be a representation of phallic symbols, but that is what the public read into them), or what Chinese characters mean to that culture. Studies have shown that a child will learn another language better if taught earlier than high school, so why do we choose to play the arts on the chopping block in public education?


Art & Play


Not only children learn from doing, playing roles out that they witness from society, but we all do, we want to know where we fit in, and will continue to do so as we go about our lives. We have moved past "the stove is hot" and "water is wet" but sometimes we forget and have to be reminded (I don’t know how many times I’ve slightly burned myself as said, "boy, that was stupid, Heather." An artist is always exploring (playing) with the ideas that face them, projected from the cultural society where they live, the values and stigmas that are placed all around them, commenting on them through their work, they explore the ways in which their materials are used and applied, which ones work well and which ones should be cast aside per each project. But, they’re also playing with how to present the feelings, the emotions, projecting the internal into external (beautiful or ugly). Play and art ARE the same. A child plays to learn about themselves and the environment in which they live and participate, imitate and mimic, playing with the ideas that are presented to them. The artist does exactly the same thing, but they have continued to do so and to question the world around them. Other individuals (who have deemed themselves uncreative) have just accepted life as it is, settling for becoming consumers rather than creators.