Guest Writer Lisa Wilson explores the issue of art and creativity and its importance in development for young people, now more than ever....
Young at Art
Art is one of the first activities that we naturally take to as young children. By the time we are barely into our years as toddlers we are already recognising shapes and colours, formulating our understanding of the world around us using this relationship. As we get older, our connection to visual art can change depending on how enthused we are by it, how adeptwe are at it and how accessible the best facilities for it are. Years ago the subject amongst young people was seen as a very leisurely, inessential one but with the advent of modern techniques, new channels of exhibition and innovative uses for the material, visual creativity has become vitally important within the budding generation. Nowadays there are specialised programmes that run creative projects, companies that display and support the inspiring work of upcoming artists, afterschool programmes offering extracurricular assistance and even art-based rehabilitation methods devised for young offenders.
Art in the education of young people
Art has taken pride of place in British schools by becoming an integral part not only of the subject itself, but also using the visual elements in other subjects like maths, science and design technology. The activity is a creative, multi-disciplinary tool that is valuable within every curriculum across pupils of nursery age, to those with special needs and finally young people with aspirations of continuing within the field beyond their school years.
Recently, there has been a lively debate in which arts teachers argue that there remains a pressing need for cultural education despite changes to the English Baccalaureate which could see the UK’s creative economy subordinated further than ever before. It is true that the subject is extremely popular amongst young people as a fairly recent OFSTED report detailed. The findings stated that pupils were able to demonstrate a creative expression of ideas, emotions and interpretations of observations outstandingly. It also recognised the benefit of art representing a school’s ethos and the environment around it whilst complaining that there are not enough opportunities for the work of young artists to be appreciated nationally.
The benefits of art within education are plentiful with its impact contradicting its overall prominence in British classrooms. Art in an educational environment…
- Is an engaging mode of learning.
- Augments other curriculum subjects.
- Encourages participation in students, especially group projects.
- Develops desirable psychological traits such as confidence and communication.
- Acts as a bridge for the divides that are language and socio-economy.
Why should young people get involved in it?
Could you imagine a life without art? The theme of cultural understanding would be limited and mundane. If we consider that our curiosity and critical capacity is in need of much nurturing as children, then we can appreciate how monumentally significant the creations of our imaginations contribute to our developmental wellbeing during our most formative years. On a personal level, the experiential qualities taken from a project when we either observe or produce it are developmentally necessary. Art is beneficial to young people because…
- It stimulates and matures your cognitive and creative abilities.
- Improves your sense of craftsmanship, teaching you the close relationship between quality and organisation.
- Strengthens the ability to solve problems and think critically which is particularly handy during scholastic pursuits.
- Teaches self-discipline and responsibility to be able to complete the tasks.
Giving young people opportunities
The opportunities available to young people interested in the artistic fields are instantly reachable, mainly via the internet. No matter the class or economic background of the individual, numerous organisations exist all over Britain offering artist in schools workshops and craft courses that endorse the healthy expression of the youth. The Arts Council is a popularorganisation dedicated to the championing of arts and culture for young Brits. Their remit is to advocate, invest in and work closely with the organisations, schools and partners involved in the development of cultural practices for youths. As a result they have introduced programmes such as Artsmark, Arts Award and the Museums and Schools programme which allow young artists to deepen their knowledge of the fine arts. These opportunities do not solely aim at those interested in still imagery and visual conceptions either; many of them also endorse film production, poetry, story writing, music production and other variations of performance too.
Young people can find out quite unexpectedly that they have a knack for art but they may hold back wondering what to do next and worrying about future prospects in the field. As well as those businesses which supply the facilities and the coaching of the craft, there are other backers who specialise in getting the creative talents of young people's work acknowledged and valued through school competitions and specialist exhibitions like the UK Young Artists which showcases the work of artists between the ages of 18-30 at special events nationwide. The purpose of this kind of support is to encourage the full engagement of the artists into building on those skills and possibly seeking a national qualification in the future. By showing the artists that their work has led to something, we not only promote progress and the possibility of a prosperous career in a subject they thrive in, but we also ensure the continual evolution and longevity of Great Britain’s artistic culture.
By Lisa Wilson