Monday, January 23, 2012

GUEST POST: Inspiring Students to Pursue Art and Design

 I am late with starting to post this year. But I have an excuse: had to work on the entries of my Pigeon Tales which were hopelessly behind. As this blog/diary is an affair of my heart you will understand that I shortly switched priorities. But now I am nearly on track and can start freshly this year with a very nice article by Alicia Moore, a writer for about

Inspiring Students to Pursue Art and Design

The United States Department of Education states that the arts are one of the core essentials of a complete education, ranking it along with subjects like English, math and social studies. In fact,  art and design are not only enriching activities that allow for creative expression, but they can also be meaningful career paths that allow young adults to pursue work in fields ranging from advertising to media production. Why then, are so many young adults turning away from the arts?

One of the issues that prevents young adults from developing an interest in the arts is that they feel that they lack the talent to be successful. The truth of the matter is that being good at art is the same as good at cooking, sports or math. The key is learning the techniques that are used and then being consistent about practicing them. This is why it is essential that art classes remain a staple of middle school and high school settings. When classes in the arts are provided in school, students are given a stage for their art, as well as a time and a place for doing it. An art class can also introduce students to various types of media that they never considered before, boarding their scope of how they view the world. Thus teachers should an effort to ensure art is emphasized in the classroom. If you are unsure about how to do so, check out sites like Online Teaching Degree, which provide a numbers of resources and lesson plans for new and practiced teachers alike.

Young adults are also often discouraged from pursuing the arts because they or their parents believe that the arts are useless. To the contrary, art can lead to careers in a number of different industries and with a number of different companies. One way to expose students to the options that are open to them is to introduce them to artists in their own community. Look around on artists boards and speak with people who are making a living from their art and design work, or even making part of their living off of the things they make. Bring these people in to class and have them explain what they do and how they do it. Simply seeing and talking to someone else who is a successful artist will allow students to realize the obtaining a career in art and in design is as impossible as they may think.

Another benefit of inviting an artist to come speak to your class is that the speaker can inform students about the ins and outs of art and design as a career. For example, it is fairly difficult to go straight from school into a career in the arts, no matter how prestigious of a school a students attends. Instead many artists get their start by freelancing, becoming more successful and more well-known as the years pass. In the meantime, the young artists will need to know how to handle their finances and their taxes, as they will be self-employed. They will also need instruction on putting together a portfolio and how present themselves when they are talking to possible employers. By hearing how another artist tackled these tasks, students will be able to plan out a path of success for themselves and approach making art as they would any other job.

Ultimately, young adults must be encouraged to create art, and one way to do so is to make sure that they have the materials handy. Young artists cannot create professional quality work if they are trying to do so with student-grade or recreational materials. In order to supply them to your students, look around and see if local businesses are willing to offer student discounts on some of their materials. Even moving to a semi-professional grade of materials can open up broad horizons to young artists.

It is also a good idea to encourage young people who are interested in the arts to work together. There is a stereotype that artists are moody or withdrawn, but the truth of the matter is that frequently, artist are neither. They are simply people who are interested in the act of creation and in the arrangement of design elements. If possible, hold meet ups or other meetings for young adults who are passionate about the art that they are making. This allows them to open up to their peers and to learn from one another. This type of meeting can be a formal peer review or it might be something significantly more casual, like a time when people can talk about the kind of work they are doing.

Consider how you can engage young people and get them invested in art and design; this is a great way to open up whole new vistas for young adults looking for a career.

Thank you very much, Alicia, for this nice article!

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