As stated by Thomas Merton, “Art allows us to find ourselves, and lose ourselves at the same time.” Being an Art Educator, I have the opportunity to help students unpack their creative identities through vast art making activities. The art room is not just the room that contains paints, brushes, pencils, and paper; it is a place for new ideas and conceptual growth. Not every student enters the art room with a passion for the arts, but every student that leaves embarked on a journey that challenged their way of thinking and allowed for respect and passion to grow. Being a mentor of the arts, I can help students develop a new passion for visual arts.
Within the arts, there are many different academic subjects that become intertwined with the creative art process. An artist’s work can encompass many different medium and styles for different forms of art making. From painting to interior design, or graphic design and sculpture, the student not only needs to have a firm understanding of their artistic craft, but a strong academic background will also be necessary. For example, when working with freeform sculpture, a student must understand mathematical formulas and measurements to create their work with proper dimensions to remain erect. For a student that starts out with an interest in mathematics, they can undertake sculptural projects to expand upon their personal interests. Visual arts can encompass every academic subject.
No two learners have the same exact needs when learning. Developing a mentor relationship with the students allows the teacher to uncover the students’ personality and learning style. Informed by Howard Gardner’s research on the multiple intelligences, the arts tap into each student’s personal needs when in a comfortable learning environment as the art room. Through personal art creations, the student is able to have intrapersonal discoveries, apply logic, and spatial intelligences through critical thinking and development. Art caters to different learners and gives them a chance to explore the arts as well as themselves.
When creating artwork, the artist not only calls upon additional academic knowledge and personal learning style; they also call upon their identity and who they are as a person. As members of our society, my students challenge who they are and their place within the arts. As the students develop their work, a dialogue begins between my students and I about subjects that have meaning to them and could bring them to new interests and show growth. The students learn that the arts unpack many pieces of their identity, and they discover that there is more to them than they had originally known. As a mentor of the arts, I am able to learn more about my student’s inner workings and help them discover whom they are and what they want to pursue as future members of society.
Through looking, learning, and discussing, my future students uncover that the world is full of art, and art is not as black and white as it seems, it can be any color they choose it to be. The student will learn from the arts and will carry a respect and passion from the arts into any other subject they wish to pursue and discover. As the students find themselves and individuals and artists in the art room, they will loose themselves in the magic the arts have to offer through my personal teaching and mentoring.