Growing up, my elementary and high school art classes helped to shape me into the artist that I am today. I was extremely disheartened to learn that the budget for art in public schools iwas being drastically reduced. Studies show that art classes contribute greatly to the developing mind and also provide alternative educational opportunities for children to explore and potentially excel in. Especially in a world inundated with media, art is becoming more and more relevant to the future generations.
My college education has given me the opportunity to more deeply explore art, psychology and mass communication. Without the public funding that was around while I was growing up, the spark that fueled my desire to explore these passions may have never been ignited.
According to an article published in the Washington Post, Arts in Education suffered severe budget cut this past year, cutting back $26.9 million in federal, state, local and private funding. This is extremely relevant to my career path because I am an aspiring elementary school art educator.
I currently work at the Dougherty Art School, which is funded through the city of Austin parks and recreation. I am an assistant preschool teacher in the early childhood explore arts program and during the summer I work as a full time art camp counselor (behavior management for ages 6-7). I am very passionate about art education especially during primary school education. As a child, I was never one to excel in academics or sports however, if given any form of art supplies I could come up with a crazy, creative, creation and was truly passionate about all and any any and all forms of visual art.
All throughout k-12 I remember art being not only my favorite subject but also some of my favorite teachers. In high school my senior project was a series of video interviews I conducted with artists asking them why art is important. For my last interview I returned to my middle school art teacher, Mrs. Johnson to ask her this question and she said creating art was her passion and teaching art was her purpose and it was what she believed she was put on this earth to do. It was at that very moment I knew what I wanted to do with my future self. So ,of course, I began my college career by lying to myself and dodging the teaching degree I needed. First I started as an art major, then went to psychology, then mass communication, communication design and later looped the three together into my general studies focusses. Upon completion of this degree in December I plan to use it along with my teaching experience at the Arts School and acquiring my teaching certification. Specifically, in primary school art education because I aspire to become as inspiring as my art teacher was.
Reported studied have been that have been conducted across the country demonstrate the importance of art education in public schools that showed a positive correlation between art education and academic success, less dropouts, and greater proficiency in mathematics and communication. A longitudinal study conducted by James Cattrall in 2009 “Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art”, followed 12,000 students and concluded that “significant connections between high involvement in arts learning and general academic success” (Ruppert). The methodology of the study consisted of statistical analytics of data acquired through the National Educational Longitudinal Survey, a survey questionnaire that tracked student’s responses. Another study reported from the center for arts education revealed a positive correlation between art education and graduation rates in a Florida public high school. This study showed that the more art education offered to students yielded a higher graduation rate. It was also concluded that through data collection many “at-risk” students “cited participation in the arts as their reason for staying” (Barry). In 2010, a study conducted in a Missouri public school found that art education had a positively significant effect academically and the social success of the students. The study also showed that the “higher the number of fine arts courses and the student enrollment in these courses, the lower the rate of infractions that require student removal from the classroom” (Scheuler).
The origins of art began over 40,000 years ago and were found in caves located in Western Europe. Researchers discovered painting of hands on caves walls that have changed their previous ideas about the origins of art. These primeval works of art were created by humans using their hands almost like a stencil up against the cave walls and then blowing pigmentspaint onto them creating a stencil and spray paint like effect. They also found these paintings that were around 27,000 years old which lead them to believe that these inhabitants had been painting for almost 13,000 years. “The discovery of the Indonesian cave art is important because it shows the beginnings of human intelligence as we understand it today” (Ghosh). Some of the major movements which influenced the evolution of art throughout the history of art include; stone age art dating from 2,500,000 -3,000 BCE, bronze age art dating from 3,000 – 1200 BCE, Iron age art dating from 1500 – 350 CE, Medieval art dating from 350 – 1300 CE, the renaissance dating from 1300 – 1620, post renaissance art dating from 1600 – 1850 which lastly brings us to contemporary art from 1970 – present. Art can be distributed into any of these contents; visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, and applied arts. More specifically the contents of visual arts can be classified into architecture, ceramics, conceptual art, drawing, painting, photography and sculpture. Performing arts covers music, theater and dance. Some of the skills learned and imparted by art as a discipline include; learning the principals of design, exposure and knowledge of a variety of materials and techniques, composition skills, and creative thinking. The use of art as a discipline is the main importance of my project. As previously stated, art is not only a very important discipline to me but is equally as important in public schools as has shown and been proven through studies to have a huge importance education. Art is not
The origins of psychology began in Germany in 1879 when scientist, Wilhelm Wundt created the first lab that was dedicated solely to the research of psychology. The evolution of psychology officially began when it was established as a separate discipline from philosophy in the mid 1800’s. Wilhelm Wundt later published his book, Principles of Psychology which discussed the science of psychology and its correlation with the study of human thought and behavior. The content of psychology consists of the subfields of psychology that consists of abnormal psychology, anomalistic psychology and behavior genetics. Then we have the biological psychology’s, neuropsychology, physiological psychology, behavioral neuro science and cognitive neuro science. Another few subcategories of psychology include the studies of clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, community psychology, consulting psychology, developmental psychology and educational psychology where I will stop listing the branches of psychology because this is my most relevant subcategory of psychology to my topic. This branch of psychology studies our process of learning and how we learn in different educational settings. I will further discuss the research findings in the educational psychology and its correlation to art being taught in public schools later. The transferable skills imparted by the discipline of psychology include; self-management, communication skills, good researching abilities, and the ability to work cohesively in a team. As well as practical and technical skills that would be implemented while doing lab work of field work. Now for the use of the discipline of psychology in support for my problem. I have read multiple studies done over the connection between art and education that have shown a positive correlation between the two. Some of the studies I will be referring to include; The 2006 “Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum study on art” which demonstrated a positive correlation between art education and critical thinking skills. A 1999 study “Learning in and Through the Arts” which has found that teachers as well as students benefit from art education in schools. Johns Hopkins researchers conducted a study about “Neuro education: Learning, arts and the brain” revealing that art education can help rewire the brain in positive ways.
The origins of mass communication began with books dating all the way back to 2400 BC. From carving into clay tablets to creating a papyrus made from a reed as a writing utensil to creating scrolls these were the beginnings of books. In 1400 BC the first know book was written in Egypt, “The Book of the Dead.” Fast forward to 1456 and the most important development in mass communication occurred. The creation of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg allowing for the replication of text for the masses. This then lead to the creation of the oldest form of mass media, newspapers. The discipline of Mass Communication studies how we use verbal and non-verbal messages to create meaning in different contexts. Some of the sub categories of mass communication include applied communication, classroom and training communication, communication theory, family communication, gender communication, health communication, international communication, interpersonal communication, language and social interaction, legal communication, media literacy and visual communication. The most relevant subcategory being the study of communication in the classroom as this ties into my problem.
The skills associated with mass communication include the ability to research and analyze information, writing skills, interpersonal communication skills, visual design, public speaking, media relations, problem solving skills and decision making skills. According to The Princeton Review, three skills a mass communication major must possess are strong quantitative and qualitative research skills, persuasive public speaker and you must be a media and marketing expert. The psychological study “Learning in and Through the Arts” is an accurate representation on the study pertaining to the study of classroom communication. The findings of this study concluded that in schools with a higher amount of art education in the curriculum produced not only happier students but happier teachers as well. This set up the dynamic for a better classroom with more cooperative and expressive students. This lead to the teachers reporting more satisfaction with their jobs and were more inclined to put more into their teaching.
Through the combination of art, psychology and mass communication in an interdisciplinary approach a contribution can be made to the public’s awareness in the growing problem of art budget cuts in public schools. More specifically, the subcategories of visual art, cognitive psychology and classroom communication all combine to help explain the importance of art education in public schools. That would otherwise not be made possible with only art as a discipline alone because it would not integrate the psychology aspect through research studies showing evidence displayed during classroom communications. In sum, art education is of extreme importance in the classroom and can be shown through evidence of studies.