School should give elementary art programs a chance

Friday, February 20, 2009

Proponents of an expanded elementary program should get an "A" for effort.

Make that an "A" for "Art," as in "McCook Art Guild."

McCook High School recently re-established an agriculture and FFA program that's appropriate for a school in a community where agriculture is of such high importance.

Now the art boosters are making their case for adding an art teacher in the K-8 level in addition to the high school teacher already in place.

Art proponents in general make some good points for having art in schools. They say it:

* Enhances concentration

* Promotes innovation and invention

* Strengthens analytical and complex thinking

* Instills perseverance and completion of tasks

* Develops problem-solving skills

* Ensures academic achievement

* Promotes teamwork

* Encourages attention to detail

* Refines observation skills

* Improves motivation and self-esteem

To that list we'd add: It's fun. It relieves stress. And, art is a lifetime skill, one like, perhaps, tennis or golf, which can be enjoyed long after the body will no longer tolerate more strenuous competitive sports.

Plus, if it's important to build those characteristics at the high school level, those efforts will be that much more effective at the grade school level.

The effort to add an elementary art program shouldn't be seen as a slam against classroom teachers who already provide an art curriculum, and would still be involved. Like the high school art position, a new elementary art teacher would be spread pretty thin over the number of students he or she would be expected to serve.

Like everything else, the current economy overshadows every decision involving money, and schools are likely to be struggling to maintain staffing levels, let alone adding new staff.

But if and when money can be found, an expanded art program should be given serious consideration.

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  • Student '62-'63 McCook High School. Art was important to me during that time. I didn't let it go to waste. After my 3 boys were all in school I looked for a job and I got the honor to assit the art teacher in the pre-school. After the first year was done I was asked to teach art. I taught it for 3 years while I was working to get a BS in art. I got to work for a printing company which helped in understanding the process of how things worked. This opened many doors in the next few years. It was exciting working for TRW Energy Division. Working with other artist from all over. I got to design report covers which I'm so proud of a ship that took me 8 hours to do. Only one of many. That lasted till the politicans cut DOE's budget and it just about went away. I was an graphic artist looking for a job. One week later I landed a job with Xerox International Training Center working in their art department which was a new out-let for creative artist. We did a little of everthing. Little tv, cartoons and you name it. The art I took in high school gave me so much. It's a chance for kids to express themselves when they don't have a chance to do in other classes. I got to see it fist hand from pre-schoolers, to grade school where they had removed it. The only way they got art was when Mom's like me went in to do a project with them. The kids couldn't wait for art day. They ate it up and were so proud of what they did. The kids need a chance to EXPRESS what they can do. No more training that I had, I went futher than I ever dreamed. I don't have any one big thing that people would know me from but I have alot of little things I'm proud of. A business card for a famous golfer, drawings, water colors, pen inks, forms, and more. Give kids a PLACE to do there thing. That will do away with all the art on buildings that people complain about. All the trains that are defaced. Give them a place to put there work. Sorry I was so long winded but I have seen so much from all the moves from west to the east, back to the west and south. Art is an expression which can't be brought out in other classess.

    Class of '63


    -- Posted by gloria foxworthy on Mon, Feb 23, 2009, at 9:12 PM
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