I am so excited about the new school year! Often, during summer vacation, I indulge my personal creative pursuits with fabrics and paint. I also have time for my second indulgence, searching and reading art-related articles on the internet. This time of self-exploration exposes me to many ideas and leads me into new directions for teaching art to our students.

The essential question, “Why art?” will be the jumping off point for inquiry and reflection throughout the year. Students will be presented with art and artists from across time and cultures to answer questions such as, “Why do people make art? Why are there so many different kinds of art? Does art have a purpose? Is art for the maker or for the viewer? Can art be something we use? Will there be art in the future?”

Students’ responses to such questions usually contain the words, “Because it’s fun!” I agree with them! But there is so much more. By providing our students with thoughtful and engaging activities, my first goal is to lead them to formulate ideas about the nature of creativity. Art, including music, dance and drama, is the heart of humanity. What would we know about a civilization without examining their art? Art is a powerful tool in communicating ideas! Art is the soul of society. But art is not just about history and people.

My second goal is to emphasize the skills and processes involved in each production as a catalyst for promoting problem solving and critical thinking skills. Educationally speaking, art can lead students into the future where the demand for creative thinkers will be essential. Higher levels of thinking; applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating; are called into play with every work of art. Making art is not a mindless activity; it is a very mind full endeavor! And, if “seeing is believing,” in this technological age it is more important than ever for students to question what they see and to enhance their skills of visual perception.

I am so happy to be in an educational environment that recognizes the value of the arts. Please feel free to visit your child’s art class at any time. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me by email, cashcraft@mountaindiscovery.org, or phone the school, and they will connect you to me. I welcome your partnership in your child’s art education.

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