Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A PIE CONVERSATION: Developing Creativity or Skills

From Our PIE Conversations.....
I know that some of you have been part of the Pie Conversations of this past Sunday evening. Some of you walked away quite surprised that after four years in school as a painting and drawing major so little painting was actually done. You learn that the emphasis in much of the University training in art is more designed to foster a broad understanding of the creative endeavors, be they theater, music, dance and well as the visual arts. The general trend in the 70's was not to teach skills but to facilitate investigation and inquiry. Schools vacillate in their emphasis depending on the staff and goals of the school. In art education, most assuredly the emphasis is on providing an opportunity to explore and develop creativity in the young, over teaching skills, especially in the younger years.

Curious to me why art is singled out as the mechanism to teach creativity. Why not music? A young child is given some materials and encouraged to explore and create.... a picture. Would a young child be given an flute or drum and told to make music? It is assumed that making music requires some preliminary skills, while it seems that there is the belief that visual art has no such criteria.

I remember teaching first graders how to do blind contour drawing of weeds. They, their parents and the other teachers were amazed how beautiful and life like the young children's drawings were. But teaching blind contour drawing was not in the curriculum for First Graders. The idea was that art was not to involve quiet concentration or attention ( like music ) but play.

Besides what value is there to teaching basic drawing as opposed nurturing creativity that can be applied to many disciplines?

What are your thoughts?