VISUAL ART PROGRAM OVERVIEW
“It is Art which makes life, makes interest, makes importance,
and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty
of its process.”
The common human thread running through all cultures is the idea that there are certain sights, sounds, stories, and movements that are uniquely transcendent, that lift us beyond ourselves and that are worth passing on to our children. Great works of art are more than pictures or statues in a museum, more than dusty books or scores on shelves. They are the remains of the civilizations that have gone before us, exposed on the scale of individual intellect and spirit. They are also the living voices of our people and people over the world, resonating with our personal experience of life.
Art is what connects us, one to another. When ordinary methods of communication are inadequate, we turn to the arts. The idea of a valued cultural collection, and the power of the visual image to connect learning to the student/creator of those images, is the basis for
The first goal of the L.C.P.S. Visual Arts Program is for our students to master the processes involved in discovering, exploring, analyzing, discussing, reflecting, recording, and synthesizing the personal, historic, and cultural importance of the visual arts. At each grade level, the focus of the program is on studio process. Art students in the sequentially structured program will learn to develop personal initiative (to develop a plan for action based on student generated ideas), self-discipline (to pursue the plan through technical difficulties), analytical skill (to make judgments and choices based on process and external input), flexibility (to make changes and alterations as needed while still reaching the final goal), and to value reflection (to go back over the process, analyzing positive and negative results and finding springboards for new ideas). This approach to the visual arts provides each student with high level thinking skills that can reach into all areas of their daily learning experience.
The second goal is for students to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the collective body of knowledge associated with the visual arts, including – color theory, basic design, technical skills, critical skills, historic and cultural comparisons, and the attendant vocabulary for each area. These components of visual literacy are to be interwoven with each day’s lesson, as appropriate to the student’s developmental level and proficiency. All will be related directly to the studio activity which reinforces learning with practical applications.
The third goal is to ensure our students understand and can discuss (in visual, written, and oral forms) the powerful communicative and transformative qualities of the visual arts. Students will examine historic, contemporary, and peer-group works, in order to decipher meaning and aesthetic effect. As students progress in analytical skill, they will learn to discuss social and cultural factors surrounding the creation of these works. These investigations will enable students to expand their understanding of world history and cultures, place their own work in stylistic and historic context, and broaden their personal visual-communicative vocabulary.
This approach to the visual arts in our schools will prepare students for the future in several important ways unique to a study of the arts. It is the power of the visual arts to engage, connect, and reinforce high-level thinking and learning to our students that makes art education irreplaceable in the lives of our children.
“The exercise of judgment in the making of artistic images or in their appreciation depends upon the ability to cope with ambiguity, to experience nuance, and to weigh tradeoffs among alternate courses of action. These skills represent not only the mind operating in its finest hour, but are precisely the skills that characterize our most complex adult life tasks.”