Letter to the Editor

Other aspects to art

Monday, January 8, 2007

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to the column written by Gene Morris in the Jan. 2 issue.

Bravo to Mr. Morris. As an artist, Art Guild member and mother, I was thrilled to read about his beliefs regarding art in our schools. I felt compelled to write and add that there are many careers that involve knowledge of the "art process," a way of thinking that the arts teach.

Our son is currently interning to be an architect, a lifetime dream of his, and was told by the UNL architecture department to take challenging math classes and all the art he could fit in.

The architecture program is very demanding and what he learned from Mr. Steinke and Mr. Clapp helped him through.

The following bits of information were taken from a book by E. Eisner, titled: The Arts and the Creation of Mind, (2002).

1) The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.

Unlike many of the subjects our children are taught, in the arts there is not always a correct answer. It is judgment rather than rules that prevail.

2) The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. Students learn that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.

3) The arts teach children that in complex form of problem solving, purposes are seldom fixed. As an artist I know first hand that after I decide how I will approach a problem, (project), I may find I need to change my ideas or the original idea may lead to something better.

The willingness to work with unanticipated possibilities as the work unfolds is an attribute that is required in today's changing work place. This is just a little of the information about the benefits of the arts to education presented in this book.

I believe that for their sake alone, the arts deserve a place in our schools, but the evidence is out there that the learning derived from an experience in the arts is the type of learning that will help students be successful in the future.

I have heard it said that we are no longer in the "information age," but are on the verge of the "conceptual age." The future needs people who are creative thinkers. "Art, no less than philosophy or science, issues a challenge to the intellect. The great works of music, sculpture, painting, engraving and all other forms of artistic expression engage the mind, teaching lessons about order, proportion, and genius." -- William Bennett, U.S. Secretary of Education.


Deb Goodenberger,

McCook AA Guild

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