Have you seen children painting with their hands and feet, and have paint all over their bodies? Or have you seen children dancing to music, and cannot stop giggling? As an educator with a visual Art and performance art background, I have come across many satisfactory smiley faces throughout my career, they do not just appear in children, but often in adults too.
A lot of us feel that art is important for one’s growth and development, but beyond feelings, there is also factual support for it and proof that it offers lifelong help to a person’s emotion and creativity. According to the left and right brain theory by Roger W. Sperry, statistical data shows that a person has two different ways of thinking, for instance, the left side - is communicative, logical, and analytical, while the right side - is creative, artistic, and intuitive. Deduced from art pieces, it is said famous artists like Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh are considered to be right-brained, owning unique and imaginative perceptions of the surroundings. However, art actually comes with planning and even calculation and artists like Leonardo Da Vinci and Pablo Picasso also demonstrated they are left-brained. Despite your preference in thinking, art is simply an expression of your feelings, emotions or thoughts.
At THS, Arts Interim is a dedicated week for students to focus on art. It is an adventurous week for students, providing them with an opportunity to show their creativity and express themselves in unique ways. This week-long event gives students a break from their regular academic routine, allowing them to experience different forms of art including textile art, miniature, scrapbook making, expressive art, baking, marine microphotography, film making, musical, chess board making, Chinese dance, etc.
Students may choose one program of their interest and then learn through hands-on activities prepared by teachers. They are given directions to develop their artistic skills and gain a deeper appreciation for art. Fabric and textiles are always my favorite medium to work with. Through Arts Interim, I can share techniques and skills in textile art with students. It was a great experience for me to engage students with my favorite art form and have them create artwork that they enjoy. It is encouraging to hear students saying that it is one of the best Arts Interim activities they ever have had.
In addition to developing their artistic abilities, some Arts Interim programs also encourage students to express their thoughts and emotions in a non-verbal way. For students who enjoy static learning, this can be a time to communicate with clay and drawings, which would be a meaningful way to connect with their peers and teachers.
While some students prefer to learn dynamically, performance arts activities allow students to convey their ideas through the movement of their bodies as well as other art forms like music. Bringing out the artist in teachers and students, we can saw a lot of fun actions across the campus.
One of the most valuable outcomes as an art teacher is to see how this helps boost the confidence in students. Through these programs, learning through contents and materials unlike their regular classes, enjoy learning in a happy atmosphere, teachers and peers both giving positive feedback and encouragement, such that our students can feel more comfortable trying new things.
Beyond Arts Interim, THS Art Department continues to offer regular visual art lessons and clubs, to keep the momentum of learning and appreciating art. As an art teacher, I hope students can learn the mindset when they come to my class, that is ART - "A" stands for “aiming for the best”, "R" stands for “respecting one another”, and "T" stands for “trusting in yourself and your ability to create and learn”.
Look at the creativity from our 5th and 6th graders! Everybody enjoyed making cushions (hand sewing can also be a mindfulness activity!) and creating their own patterns with Shibori dye and fabric.