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Welcome to the Art Appreciation Program

"Art is almost always self-individualizing. Each person, regardless of age or gender, resolves the visual problem in their own way. I have found that first graders can explore some pretty sophisticated topics." Art Matters, Eileen S. Prince

A proper art education can develop skills in areas such as communication, motivation, organization, consistency, persistence, short-term and long-term goal setting/planning, reserch and development, as well as evaluation and critique skills.These are characteristics which are imperative to each individual's physical and emotional growth. By ultimately finding success through hard work, it will teach trust and dedication to the trial and error process and will transfer over to other areas of life. By learning to not repeat mistakes, but break a negative cycle, students firsthand see the power of the decision-making model. Most people say they are "not good at art" because they judge themselves too harshly since they cannot draw realistically. Indeed, their are the people with raw talent nd instincts to draw realistically without any education, but few people realize these skills can be taught. Absorbing the ability to improve efficiency is the real secret to success and learning the critical thinking skills to decipher the best order is a life-long project!

Art is really as simple as this statement. Any project is art, the conception of an idea, and following through the trials and errors until it is completed to meet or surpass the original vision.  The basic concept of Design is that "Form follows function." By introducing these concepts, our students learn to not just settle for what is imperfect, but to see the world as it ought to be and strive to produce positive change. By learning what the problems actually are, we can also develop solutions and see the side effects of our choices rapidly. ART IS INSTANT FEEDBACK! We will spend focused learning time to understand all of the Purposes of Art and teach each student that they can be the change they wish to see, and finding their art media will become their visual voice.

How do we do this. Its as simple as this story. Student #1 crumples up and throws out the remaining ball away every time a mistake is made. Student #2 attempts to work through and fix mistakes or learn new techniques from "happy accidents." After several hours of work, Student #1 has a garbage can overflowing with crumpled paper balls and is disatisfied and knows its not environmentally responsible, as we will be discussing ecycling and repurposing too!  Student #2 has persisted and used the new skills being taught to fix mistakes in building both the foreground and background, which leads to the completion of "The Big Picture."

By giving them opportunities to spend time in deep work and also by exposing them to the great artists, they can learn as artists have throughout the generations, that these artworks are actually the artist's statement.  In trying to recreate a master's piece, we learn through similar processes as they did to resolve the visual problems, but have help with some hurdles with the ability to study the techniques used in the orins and critical thinking skills neededginal. Students will quickly learn to talk themselves through these constant decisions by learning the vocabulary of Art. Spending focused learning time on each the Elements of Art will enable students to complete a piece with foreground and background and understand their choices as they make them, furthering planning skills. For example, "I am using many types of line. I used straight diagonal and dashed lines to show a freeway and scalloped lines to show the waves in the ocean, etc....  By spending this same focus on each of the Principles of Design, composing the image and creating balance are also decisions that become based in reason. For example, I created movement in the tree's leaves by using swirly lines and blurring the leaves into the lines and all around the branches of the trees. The Purposes of Art will also be explored, and we will discuss the functional, spiritual, emotional, physical, historical, cultural, and aesthetic reasons for creating.

A structured Art curriculum enhances creativity, encouraging students to look at subjects in a plethora of ways and choose interpretations that are meaningful to them.I believe that children should be empowered to use their imaginations and have their creativity nurtured and further developed, We do this in Art by fostering idea creation and cultivating these ideas through Synectic triggers, such as changing scale or proportion, personification and animation, distortion, metamorphose, and lots more! We will also learn to use consistent pressure to layer and overlap until the image meets expectations, rather than rushing. Some mindfulness techniques will be integrated to help to relax hands and upper bodies from tightening into giant claws, and stop the hand cramping and neck slumping meanwhile improving posture and circulation. By using active sitting and breathing techniques, students will learn to engage the lower body through the heels and oblique muscles. These will help students to stay focused on the task at hand, rather than hyper-focusing on discomfort and holding the breath, which are 2 major issues intake completion, hence this is a major life-skill and will lead to higher levels of success.

Creativity reigns freely in the Art Appreciation room and we are blessed that our school understands the importance of arts education as evidenced by their continued support of the St. Mary Art Appreciation Program.  Artistic literacy equates to life-long learning. The St. Mary Art Appreciation Program helps students not only be exposed to the wonderful world of art, but helps them to apply factual knowledge, concepts, skills, and use the decision-making model to better develop critical thinking and higher level analyzing and synthesizing. It starts with the first step which is to appreciate that only through actual persistence and determination to work through mistakes and use fresh ideas to create the new options. Meanwhile critical thinking skills help to decipher the consequences and ramifications of those options outcome. This returns us to our visual of students 1 and 2. Student #1's overflowing garbage can represent an inability to consider new options which is why the mistake is being continually repeated. This leads to dealing with emotions of frustration and possible acting out as an inability to try a new approach is frightening. My hope is to help this student realize that although fixing the mistake may be ten more a zillion times harder than starting over, its the only way to complete the "Big Picture. A first major breakthrough where  a student feels pride in a job well done is certainly memorable and can be life changing.This curriculum is specifically designed to document some of those moments in each student's history.

Student #2 is working through these same emotions, but has found soothing techniques. One is a "Skills-you-know" list which students keep for themselves from 4th grade on. However, any student is encouraged to start a sketch/art notebook and record their reflections and this skills/techniques list, in addition to sketching, and always dating everything, so they can turn in at the end of each trimester for extra credit! 

However, more importantly, I like to parallel these 2 ideas with each individual's conscience. We discuss how making mistakes and not fixing them in life can lead to weight on the conscience and the problems associated with that negative cycle. Comprehension that trying to clear up our own trespasses as we learn to forgive and learn from others that trespassed against us or those we care for, will help us to clear our conscience and develop empathy, and that is the true path to happiness that God intended for us or "THE BIG PICTURE!" 

To learn more about this phenomenon and to help your students maximize their potential and even surpass their wildest dreams, I recommend the book, "The Talent Code", by Daniel Coyle. And if you still have free time after all of this, PLEASE consider volunteering in the Art room. Go to SignUp.com to sign up today. I know that this program is largely successful because of the wonderful support of the parents! Thank you! I am thrilled to be joining the St. Mary family and looking forward to creating works together!