Contemporary art education has an entirely new approach to art-making based on the teaching of 21st century skills which include collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication. This approach emphasizes idea development, experimentation, risk-taking, interdisciplinary content, and problem solving. When I talk to students about their artwork, I emphasize the importance of the meaning behind their work. As artists, we aren't just creating pretty pictures, we are telling stories, sharing emotions, communicating ideas, and revealing our thoughts. If you ever come into my art room I encourage you to ask students questions about their work instead of just saying, "That's really pretty." or "Wow! Beautiful!". I try to ask students, " Why did you choose to create this?", "What was the meaning or idea behind this piece?", "What did you struggle with while creating this and how did you overcome these struggles?" and "What do you think your work visually communicates to other people?". I still believe it is important for students to develop their art skills and techniques, but the primary emphasis should be in teaching them to think divergently, develop their ideas, and problem solve.
Art educator, Cindy Foley, believes that the three most important habits for teaching creativity are comfort with ambiguity, idea generation, and transdisciplinary research. Watch her TED talk below!
Hope to see you in the art room!