Friday, May 16, 2014

LGAA's Children's Art Workshop…July 21 – 24, from 9 am until 11 am each day

LGAA's Children's Art Workshop…
is scheduled for July 21 – 24, Registration at 9am, classes start promptly at 9:30am until 11:30am each day, at the Shanley House Gallery, 224 N. Travis, across from the library. The young artists, ages 7 to 12, will explore their choice of drawing or painting. The cost is $12 per day, and includes all the supplies and a light snack. For additional questions call Linda Christiansen at (682) 936-2225, or Jeanette Alexander, (817) 578-3090.

As Natural as Sunshine…..
by Jeanette Alexander 

“Art is as natural as sunshine and as vital as nourishment,” claims MaryAnn F. Kohl, former teacher and author of many books encouraging art in children's education. Local artists support this premise by offering an annual Children's Art Workshop each summer.

With the emphasis in public education on test results, the arts are often discounted as valuable to a child's development, particularly cognitive growth. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Three studies released recently by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts emphasize the importance of access to arts education, citing better grades, increased creativity, higher rates of college enrollment and graduation as well as higher aspirations and civic engagement. Research shows that when students participate in the arts they are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, have higher GPAs and SAT scores and show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12. They are also more likely to be engaged and cooperative with teachers and peers and are more self-confident and better able to express their ideas. These benefits are particularly pronounced in high-poverty, low-performing schools. 

"Drooling Dog" is a colored pencil drawing by Parker Lyle, age 9

Art is a process not a product. A child does not have to create a masterpiece to have a meaningful artistic experience. Experimenting, exploring and discovering have the greatest value.

The visual arts promote skills in several areas of a child's development. Quoting Kohl, “When a child draws a picture, paints a portrait, or hangs buttons from a wobbly mobile, that child is beginning to communicate visually.” A child's artistic creation may simply document a specific experience; it may release joyful feelings through swirling and colors; it may even work through an emotional experience the child is unable to verbalize.

Children develop problem solving skills through art. When making art, children test possibilities and solve challenges; they learn that often there is more than one solution. The child becomes engaged in “how” and “why”, rather than simply following “rules”.

Art helps children gain social and emotional skills. They practice sharing and show appreciation for other's efforts. Art fosters a knowledge of uniqueness and accomplishment.

Of course, making art can't help but develop or improve fine motor skills. Using a paint brush and adjusting the pressure will vary the marks on paper; drawing with a crayon or snipping paper all contribute to control of the mediums."

"Self-Portrait" by McLean Hirsch, age 4.  Ink and Watercolor.