Any form of art, be it drawing, painting, music, dance, drama, or poetry, has been an integral part of the evolution of man from the Stone Age to the modern day. The instinctive appeal of a beautiful picture, an emotional connect to a birdsong, or a random feeling of joy on beholding the beauty of nature have all been symbolic of man’s attraction to the sublime elements present within him, waiting to be drawn out.
An artist is a person whose senses have developed keenly and formed an exquisite kinship with beauty that finds expression in various forms. The artist is able to interiorize the experience of beauty and bring forth for the layman a composition so beautiful or a painting so glorious that the common man is forced to ask: How come I did not see it that way? Or how does one create such magic?
Does studying art have a place in the modern curriculum aimed at producing high achievers? Or is it a mere indulgence for those who do not need to earn a living off it? What role does art play in school education that can be of use to a child in his later years? These are some questions that have been addressed by educationists while compiling a syllabus. Apart from the fact that students get to explore their talents in any of the art forms, art also enables them to be creative, and get in touch with the innermost core of their being.
Any civilized society is always known by the way it treats its artists. Down the ages, patronage of kings and rulers gave artists a means for living and producing works of art. They were honored, feted, and respected. Today, it is all more important for children to be exposed to and taught various forms of art since it broadens their outlook on society and allows them to undertand the universality of all beings. Science and technology may equip students with skills to lead a successful life, with its connotations of becoming rich in the material sense. But, it does little to enhance the human spirit and enhance creativity.
Studies have proven that art education can boost critical thinking skills in students. Art therapy has been used to improve coordination skills and mental agility among children suffering from neurological disorders. It has been known to soothe and calm children who are hyperactive, by providing an outlet for their excessive energies. Dance, song, poetry, painting, etc. are all joyous celebrations of the world within and without. Art is no longer considered as the playground of the genius, the gifted, or the prodigy. Art education can allow each child to explore his or her creativity and gain a platform to pursue that skill.
Today’s world of virtual reality and electronic gadgets certainly calls for an undertaking that will take children away from the visual and aural information overload they are exposed to through various media and connect them with their human self when they are given a book to write their thoughts in a poem, draw a picture, or dance to a tune.
The world needs artists as much as it does scientists, engineers, doctors, and other professionals. Contemporary society is becoming aware of the benefits of art education, and slowly the notion that studying art is a mere indulgence is giving way to an understanding that the world would be a better place if more artists inhabited it. After all, the appeal of art is universal and what better than to live with more humaneness and art touching our lives?