“The future of our nation depends on our ability to create and be creative. During the coming decades, our most important natural resource will be human resources. If our nation is to continue to meet the challenges of the future, today’s schools need to develop creative leaders.”
John. F Kennedy
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
This program philosophy is adapted from the National Core Arts Standards: A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning. National Coalition for Core Arts Standards.
The arts have always served as the distinctive vehicle for discovering who we are as individuals and as a society. Providing ways of thinking as disciplined as science or math and as disparate as philosophy or literature, the arts are used by and have shaped every culture and individual on earth. They continue to infuse our lives on nearly all levels - generating a significant part of the creative and intellectual capital that drives our economy. The arts inform our lives with meaning every time we experience the joy of a well-remembered song, experience the flash of inspiration that comes with immersing ourselves in an artist’s sculpture, enjoying a sublime dance, learning from an exciting animation, or being moved by a captivating play.
The fact that the arts provide important touchstones confirms their value to the development of every human being. Nurturing our children, then, necessarily means that we must provide all of them - not just those identified as “talented” - with a well-rounded education that includes the arts. By doing so, we are fulfilling the college and career readiness needs of our students, laying the foundations for the success of our schools and, ultimately, the success of our nation.
As students advance through the grades and make individual progress toward creating, performing, responding, and connecting, they are able to exhibit with increasing breadth and depth these capacities of the artistically literate individual:
They use the Arts as communication
In today’s multimedia society, the arts are intertwined with the media, and therefore provide powerful and essential means of communication. The arts provide unique symbol systems and metaphors that convey and inform life experience (i.e., the arts are ways of knowing). Artistically literate citizens use a variety of artistic media, symbols and metaphors to independently create and perform work that expresses and communicates their own ideas, and are able to respond by analyzing and interpreting the artistic communications of others.
2. They use the Arts for creative personal realization
Participation in each of the arts as creators, performers, and audience members enables individuals to discover and develop their own creative capacity, thereby providing a source of lifelong satisfaction. Artistically literate citizens find at least one arts discipline in which they develop sufficient competence to continue active involvement in creating, performing, and responding to art as an adult.
3. They understand the Arts as culture, history, and connection
Throughout history the arts have provided essential means for individuals and communities to express their ideas, experiences, feelings, and deepest beliefs. Artistically literate citizens know and understand artwork from varied historical periods and cultures, and actively seek and appreciate diverse forms and genres of artwork of enduring quality/significance. They also seek to understand relationships among the arts, and cultivate habits of searching for and identifying patterns, relationships between the arts and other knowledge.
4. They understand the Arts as a means to well-being
Participation in the arts as creators, performers, and audience members (responders) enhances mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Artistically literate citizens find joy, inspiration, peace, intellectual stimulation, meaning, and other life-enhancing qualities through participation in all of the arts.
5. They understand the Arts as a means for community engagement
The arts provide means for individuals to collaborate and connect with others in an enjoyable inclusive environment as they create, prepare, and share artwork that bring communities together. Artistically literate citizens seek artistic experiences and support the arts in their local, state, national, and global communities.
Much has been learned in the past few decades about the ways within which educators can give all children key arts experiences. Through creative practices, these experiences will help them understand what it means to be artistically literate, and how that literacy can enrich their education and lives with 21st century skills developed through the arts.
1 - Engagement in Authentic Experiences
Artistic literacy requires that they engage in artistic creation processes directly through the use of appropriate materials and in appropriate spaces.
2 - Engagement in the Four Artistic Processes
A student engaged in creative practices:
3 - Engagement in Critical Thinking
Working within the National Core Arts Standards, arts educators encourage their students to apply critical thinking to the artifacts and processes that they find most compelling.
4 - Engagement in Problem-Solving
Students who actively study the arts engage in and develop a disciplined, step-by-step approach to problem-solving by creating, realizing, and understanding art.
5 - Engagement in Communication
Students will learn to articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts. Students will also learn to Communicate effectively in diverse environments (including multi-lingual).
6 - Engagement in Collaboration
Standards-based arts instruction, by its very nature, engages students in collaboration. Students develop, implement, and communicate new ideas to others effectively.
7 - Engagement in Performance Assessments
Students and educators will evaluate creative work and performances with established rubrics.
8 - Engagement in Productive Partnerships with Home and the Community
Arts students have many opportunities to engage with the community at large through presentations, shows, performances, civic events, and learning experiences both in and out of the school building.