Art Classes and Their Effects – Facts or Myths?

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By Marlene Bohnyak, Owner/Instructor

Most of the students that attend art classes already have excellent artistic skills…fact or myth?
Most of the students are quite average when they first come in. They do improve greatly and many of them do develop into fabulous artists as they tap in to their own creativity and combine that with newly acquired skills and techniques learned at our studio. We also have a substantial group of students of all ages (pre-schoolers through senior citizens) that have underdeveloped or weakened fine motor skills and muscle strength. They have been referred to us by Occupational or Physical Therapists so that they may further develop strength, dexterity and coordination of their hands. The gripping of pencils and paintbrushes, the molding and forming of shapes in clay, or the placement of mosaic tiles are all excellent ways to manipulate the fingers, wrists and lower arms to further increase strength and mobility. Best of all, the result is a great piece of art, a super reward for all the efforts made.

Art is obviously a fun and creative activity for most, but it really isn’t useful or helpful in any way…fact or myth?
Art is actually very closely tied into many academic subjects such as math, science, handwriting (a lost art) and language. When kids are enjoying cartooning, they are creating favorite characters and of course they love that. What they donʼt realize is that they are learning about proportions and fractions! When they are learning how to draw objects threedimensionally, they are learning perspective, and angles which combine math and science. In our Famous Artists class they are learning art history in a very engaging way that they can relate to.

By learning to plan, practice and then execute the final artwork, kids learn about using a system of steps to achieve a better result. This systematic thinking can be applied to all other subjects and should yield improvements there too.

Creative thinking can lead to higher learning and awareness…fact or myth?
When a child begins to create an artwork, a child has many issues to think about: WHAT should I draw? An animal, person, cartoon, or a cupcake? HOW big should I make it? Do I want to use the whole page, or leave some room for something else? WHAT colors should I use? Should I use crayon, marker, pastels, or paint? WHO will this drawing be about? A real person, animal or fantasy creature? WHEN is this drawing taking place—day or night? Summer or winter? WHY am I drawing this—for fun, a present to give someone or a school project? These questions lead to increased awareness and encourage further questions and solutions. They lead to understanding that art is a process rather than just a product.

The above questions may sound familiar to you from your English and writing classes long ago. Who, what, where, why and when: the fundamentals of writing! We apply these skills in our book making class, Cover 2 Cover, (ages 8 and older) where our students develop writing and illustration skills as they tell their own stories! Art also involves experimentation when using a particular paint, tape, or glue to discover the suitable materials for optimal results in creating the book. In this class they will learn to design and structure the book covering and its suitable binding technique. The result is a unique book or journal. Patience, planning and analysis were involved…and your child enjoyed it! That is why art is a great experience from which to learn!