Art is more than mixing colors.
There is often a tendency to oversimplify the impact that art can have on youth, so we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the benefits that often go unnoticed.
First, it is important to mention that children’s brains are constantly figuring out what skills that child is going to need for life, and creating neural pathways to strengthen their ability to perform whatever activities they do regularly. This means that the skills they exercise through the creation process will form their brain, and ultimately make them better able to navigate the trials and obstacles that life will test them with.
This includes the scientific reasoning that goes with mixing colors, the rigorous logistical planning that accompanies looking at a blank sheet of paper and planning how each layer and structure will fit in for realizing the overall vision, and the constant problem solving and emotional control as their hypothesis of what is needed to reach that vision does not seem to work out exactly how they wanted.
Below are a few more reasons why we value art so much.
Creativity extends past the pad
The ability to think multi-dimensionally and have the confidence to visualize things that others have not been able to see yet is an important trait that artists develop which translates directly into the working world.
Who gets promoted? Regardless of the field, those who get promoted are usually the ones who not only do their job well, but those who find a way to stand out.
Being able to look into the future and create a process or put a system in place that solves a significant problem the company faces gets employees noticed – and ultimately, fast-tracked. It is not good enough for our children to be “average” or “good,” they have to find ways to be “great”…and that often involves both doing what’s in their job description, and visualizing what could be, even if no one else sees it, and then artfully executing on that vision until the solution is realized.
Expression is important
Art is an outlet. Like music, art provides a platform for expression. Having this tool that youth can use to get their feelings out makes it easier for them to deal with those feelings, while also giving parents and those around them insights into what is going on in their minds. The best way to be there for a child who may not fully understand how to deal with (or express) their thoughts and emotions, is to understand them.
Since we often have to learn how to express what we feel, and that can be a long process that lasts well into adulthood, art can also provide a better way for youth to communicate with the world what is going on with them.
Confidence from inside
As they advance, students transition from the basic steps of learning the fundamentals of figure drawing and structuring artistic pieces, to an understanding that what they create, and how they decide to interpret the traditional rules of art becomes their value. They begin to embrace the fact that their form of expressing the world and what they see around them is both important and valuable.
Not only that, they begin to understand that the right people will see the skill and beauty in their work, and that their work has merit whether most understand it yet or not. This instills internal confidence that makes them less dependent on outside validation and impressions, and more aligned with whether they are fulfilling their value system, accomplishing the goals they set for themselves, and are finding their true north.
At Upper Room, we believe that youth can be equipped with all of the tools they need to be great. It is up to us to understand what our kids need, and present them with the activities and support to realize their potential, and accomplish their goals.
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