Art isn’t just about pretty pictures hanging on the wall, or being able to show off Jr’s creations when the neighbours visit.
It is more than the product it creates; it is more than the stuff.
Art is about confidence. It is about learning, and growing and challenging ourselves. It is about stepping out of our comfort zone, about meeting new people and sharing new experiences. Art, for a newcomer, is entering a new environment—an extraordinary, inspiring world that you didn’t know existed.
The Arts also give children valuable life skills that can lead to greater success at school. Kids who study the visual arts learn to formulate an informed perception, articulate a vision, build self-confidence and self-discipline and develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
Taking part in dance or drama classes is a creative and stimulating way for kids and youth to get physical exercise, express creativity and build the imagination. Like team sports, being part of a dance or drama class or performance is an excellent way to learn teamwork, develop social interaction skills, build self-confidence and reduce anxiety—even test anxiety.
The arts have always been on the agenda for my children. From painting classes, to clay building, they have been drawn into the world of art, not just by the creations they produce, but by the culture of the center. My eldest daughter, previously a bit of a shy kid, would exclaim her love of the art centers because `they are so quiet and well behaved`. It wasn’t the usual chaos of kid activity; she had found a place to learn in peace.
I had always thought art was a natural skill, an impulsive creative urge that somehow rose up in the artist to spill over onto a canvas or lump of clay. To understand that it is a learned skill, and that these pieces are planned and built in the artists mind before the materials ever hit the table encouraged me to explore the opportunities more. And to understand that the benefits leach over to academic studies is also amazing. To quote a 1999 UCLA study called Involvement in the Arts and Human Development which found that “students who are consistently involved in high levels of instrumental music demonstrate significantly higher mathematics proficiency than their non-music peers“ really helps to validate the support the necessity of arts programming for our kids.
Because art is about the person, it is about building new pathways in your brain, it is about opening up new colors and textures in your life . . . . Art is about growth.
For ourselves, for our kids, art is a means of exploration . . . whatever your method. And to be an explorer, to be someone with the confidence to challenge ideas and share thoughts, what a wonderful, empowering thing.
If you want to explore the world of arts check out the upcoming open houses at the Place des Arts on Thursday, September 6, 7 – 9pm (adults-only open house and gala exhibition opening) & Saturday, September 15, 2-4pm (family open house). Place des arts has all the classes to fill your vision and start you on your arts education. Visual arts, music, dance, theatre and literary arts for all ages, is currently registering online.
This post is sponsored by the Place des Arts in Coquitlam, BC.