During a TED talk in 2007, Sir Ken Robinson quoted Picasso stating, “All children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” He then went on to state that he agreed, believing that we as humans don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it—or rather, we get educated out of it.
And we at Winged Canvas agree.
Our education systems spend so much time nurturing children in maths, sciences, and languages that we forget to nurture our children’s creativity. Art is not just about artistic expression via paintbrushes, dance routines, or dramatic improv performances. At its very core, the arts are also key in childhood development.
What does visual arts help children develop? A lot more than you might think. No, your child may not become the next Picasso, van Gogh, or Da Vinci, but they will grow up—through participating in visual arts—with skillsets and mindsets that will help them succeed no matter their pursuits.
No matter the medium, whether it’s 3D or 2D, the visual arts give students a chance to explore ideas, execute their imaginative ideas, and have fun with the stories and themes they want to share.
Encourages Emotional Expression
Comics are one way students are able to express themselves, as well as exercising how they interpret and visually represent varying emotions.
Participating in visual arts programs provides a canvas—pun intended—for children to express their emotions in a way that they can't in a structured science lab or a English lesson. With visual arts, children's emotions are the medium and the crayons, pencils and paints are just the tools, an extension of their voices. It’s a healthy forum for kids to verbally and artistically acknowledge how they feel.
Creates Cultural Awareness
Through visual arts, students are placed in a collaborative environment where they are taught to engage with other students of differing backgrounds and perspectives--this is key in developing an openness and sense of empathy in the child.
Through visual arts, children develop their understanding of the world around them. While studying different art forms, mediums, and eras, children are exposed to different histories and cultures. Visual arts helps children be more open to the differences and perspectives around them, which in turns fosters more empathy within them. As art is subjective and open to interpretation, without necessarily being right or wrong, visual arts really allows children to understand it’s okay to have an opinion and to not fear vocalizing it openly and honestly, while simultaneously teaching them it’s alright if others don’t necessarily agree.
Increases Imagination and Inventiveness
Undoubtedly, visual arts helps childhood development by increasing creativity. When you allow a child to use their imagination, you encourage them to push boundaries, believe there are no limits, and problem solve by coming up with out-of-the-box solutions. Visual art classes help students develop a sense of confidence within themselves, allowing them to experiment and come up with ideas and test them out, without fear of failure.
Imagination and inventiveness is a key component our 2017 Cartoon & Anime Camp, where students got creative in making Pokemon-inspired felt dolls.
Supports Social Interaction
Visual arts is vital to childhood development, as it encourages group participation and communication. Through visual arts, children are exposed to others in a group setting who have differing perspectives on the world. This is a great time to engage with others who come from different backgrounds and practice cooperation and compassion, allowing each other to constructively critique each other’s work.
Collaborative environments, like visual art programs, place students in environments that allow them to grow in their self and social awareness, as well as giving them room to practice and expand their social interaction skills.
Through visual arts, children develop their understanding of artistic terms and topics. From shapes to colours, from patterns to techniques, students are exposed to a wide array of knowledge catered to visual arts. However, they don’t just absorb knowledge pertaining to the arts--through visual arts, children are allowed to experiment with interpretations of popular culture and common knowledge, expanding their overall sense of creativity.
Like any other school subject, visual arts is founded on principles that foster knowledge and create room for exploration and creative execution. It’s something we at Winged Canvas believe, and something we strive to implement in all our classes and workshops through our “We <3 Art Nerds” motto. Which is why, we strive to implement our four pillars of learning, which is at the core of core of our art programs: N.E.R.D.
NURTURE: Inspire students with visual examples that introduce a new concept
EXPLORE: Identify, discuss, and interpret what was observed
RECREATE: Instructor demonstrates the technique or creative process (step by step)
DESIGN: Students create within the theme, using the new concept or skill learned
This was a unique and creative interpretation of “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer, which was painted by Lydia, age 12, a student at Winged Canvas.
With this step-by-step method, from start to finish, students get the most beneficial and educational approach when learning new art techniques and themes. Similarly, we believe in the benefits of learning from different artists and instructors, as having an array of artists can provide unique perspectives and interpretations of the world.
Winged Canvas instructors are experienced industry professionals who specialize in different areas, from illustration to comic books, watercolour to acrylic, plein air to oil painting—all areas that teach the skills and concepts needed in building a strong art foundation for future creative success!