04 June 2017

Children and art

A friend told me a story the other day about his wife dragging him to the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. This gorgeous place traces the life and times of Picasso, and Simon was aghast at the simplicity of Picasso's 'works of art'. I mean, really, it's just a square for a head! That was until his wife showed him the paintings Picasso was doing at 14 years of age - take a look. Picasso painted Man in a Beret when he was 14! The rest of his career was spent on simplifying and creating some of the most iconic images of the nineteenth century. Picasso famously said 'Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.' (We will just assume he thought girls could be artists too.)

And so for class teachers, the teaching of The Arts is fraught with uncertainty, and for some, anxiety. The curriculum includes skills in all mediums, knowledge about art and artists, self expression, appreciation, creativity and imagination. Underlying all of this is self esteem and children's ideas about themselves as artists, as mathematicians, as scientists, as problem solvers, as creators.

Visual arts at Peregian Springs SS includes all of these aspects - we have talented artists on staff whom balance our focus on maths and technology, we offer Master Classes with working artists for our older students, we have an Artist in Residence who relishes her role two days a week (we'd like more but two days is all she can manage), we've had visiting artists describe their lives and works to children, we've had a 'bigger than Ben Hur' Art Fair, and we have hard working classroom teachers who are maybe not artists themselves (although some of them are) apply the curriculum, encourage creativity, and celebrate children's efforts in art and design.

We've had kids win some competitions too - it's always a treat when the community also recognises children's efforts.

Art is allocated a very small amount of time in the curriculum by the powers that be - inspite of that we absolutely make the most of it.

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