On a recent trip interstate, after days of running madly from one place to the next, hailing taxis, attending to commitments and trying to squeeze three days worth of errands into each day, I finally scored a day to myself. A day with no one to meet with, nothing to buy, no paperwork to fill in and no demands on my time. With a happy little smirk of freedom I took myself off to the local art gallery for a day of my favorite kind of R and R.
Within minutes of walking through the door I felt calm, rejuvenated and inspired and it got me thinking about what a wonderful environment art galleries are for children.
To share the gallery experience with a child really demonstrates what an all encompassing, holistic learning experience viewing art is for children. Their curiosity is inspired and they begin to really develop a sense of the way the world has evolved and changed in a variety of social, historical and cultural contexts.
So many students I’ve taught over the years have either never been to an art gallery or certainly don’t go regularly. For those students to try and create artworks of their own with no first hand experience of what is possible, makes it difficult for them to unearth and develop their own ideas. I would urge all parents to take their children to art galleries on a regular basis. You will be amazed at the conversations that open up between you and your child during and after the experience. The benefits for your child are numerous; they will become more observant, more analytical and reflective and may even come away inspired to try their hand at some creative pursuits. Through a child’s eyes, an art gallery is a place that they can come away from thinking, ‘I want to do that!’
It really is time to broaden our thinking about what helps children to become successful learners. Art is at the very heart of who we are as makers, thinkers and innovators. And it has been that way since the beginning of time.
Until next time – see, make, do!