Art: Today's Brain Food — Dr. Cindy Todd
Be an Art Advocate! Act Now!
Tim Lowke, TAEA Advocacy Chair
Advocacy is public support for a particular cause. In visual arts education it seems as we are always working on this concept of advocacy. Why is that? The reason I see is that as educators we are working to advance our mission, our programs, and our outreach for greater student understanding, learning and passion for our discipline. In order to support rich programming, our communities and stakeholders have to support what we do daily. Every art educator, regardless if this is your first year or fortieth year in our profession should work to advocate for visual arts – subscribe to the mantra of "leaving it better than you found it." As you advocate keep in mind the three "basics" of advocacy shared by NAEA and TAEA:
Communicate a CLEAR message. Show "why is what you do in visual arts important?" and be sure to include data whenever possible.
Be VISIBLE. Make a plan for your advocacy efforts and get outside your room/school walls with your message. Think about events you can showcase what happens in your space to the broader community.
Activate an Advocacy NETWORK. Identify committed people and help them get involved. Make sure the message is communicated clearly and all stakeholders are part of the greater vision and purpose.
Want to know more and be better informed? Check out our resources with our partner at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) along with Texas Art Education Association programming like Be Visual, Big Art Day and our 2016 TAEA Advocacy Toolkit (coming soon)!
Ten Lessons the Arts Teach
By Elliot Eisner
- The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
- The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
- The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
- The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor number exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
- The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
- The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
- The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
- The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
- The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.
SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications.