The Art Route-Teens To Tots

Art is an expression for everyone, and children are no exception to this. It is a way of telling the world about what you are thinking and feeling. It has been a sign language for ancient civilizations to communicate with one another. The biggest proof is ancient cave paintings made that depict life at that time. Cave artworks have tons of stories to tell us.

How many of you were encouraged to draw and paint when you were little? Do you still have those sketches that you drew? Do go back if u still have those drawings and trace the stories you told as a child. On the same note, let me ask another question: how many of you encourage art for your little ones? Visual or Performing Arts?

The emphasis on encouraging art for children has increased in current times. At homes and schools. Though, there are still a large number of folks who still believe in the myths about arts and discourage children too.

New age education is increasingly fostering sensorial play with colours, sand, and all objects around – creating designs and shapes of animals, things, and humans. The idea is to improve visual learning. Performing Arts is also given special importance, and concepts are being taught through role plays in preschools and higher classes.

Visual arts comprise the following elements – the colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. Each of these elements represents something that sets every piece of art apart. A mix and match of the above-mentioned elements are what makes any visual artist’s work stand out. While some may use colours and forms, others may use lines and shapes and some others may use space in art. Performing arts encourages the use of expressions, pitch, and tones through body language.

There are “art streets” or art markets organized in every city of the world these days. These art streets have people from all walks of the artistic arena performing or showcasing their skills – right from drawings, paintings, puppetry, digital art, murals, 3D floor art, graffiti, dance, mono acts, street plays – you name it and you will find it there. There is no power in the world to match the power of art. The language it conveys is extremely powerful and lends a beautiful medium to one and all.
It is wonderful to see many children blossoming into all kinds of arts – print, digital, performing arts, and other art forms. Children are natural artists if left free. They learn organically since their young minds absorb and comprehend a lot. Take any drawing or painting of a child and you will find all these elements in them.

Art gives children the scope to think, move and act freely without getting judged. All emotions flow easily once they start using colours and experimenting with shapes and forms. What we call modern art, maybe a child’s story. A child can convey his or her emotions in the form of a beautiful art piece.

Over some time, art developed a negative connotation and many myths were formed.
Hence, the art of any kind wasn’t encouraged for children as well. Following myths were floated:

1.  Art is a waste of time; has no or limited career scope
2.  Art will reduce the scores in school and college
3.  Art is fancy; only for the elite
4.  Art for the intellectuals
5.  Art is for emotional fools
6.  Art only flows in artistic families or families with artistic genes
7.  Not everyone can become an artist.
8.  You need connections to make a career in art or make it big in the art world.
9.  Once art in any form is encouraged, a child will wave goodbye to books
10. Art is temporary happiness

Out of all these mentioned, the last myth is the most heartbreaking. Art unlike what people think is a distraction for children enhances focus and concentration. Creativity helps in problem-solving and helps children learn concepts better. Drawing can be a tool for children to learn any new concept and also be used as a “peg” to remember points. Once you have a visual of the concept you are studying, it becomes much easier for the child to assimilate concepts. Whether it is a tot or a teen, and even adults for that matter, art makes beautiful memories for a lifetime.

Art Mood spoilers AKA “Editors”

Another common mistake that most parents make is to “correct” art or say “this is not good enough” after seeing their child’s artwork. This is a way of telling the child to make the art “perfect”. But artists and psychologists will tell you that while “editing” a child’s art, you are in effect cutting their wings of imagination. There are no such things as perfectly straight lines/cubes/squares or any shapes. 

Art is one medium where there can be no “right” or “wrong”. So, it is better to let the child be free while letting them express themselves. Many therapists and psychologists use visual art as a tool to evaluate the mental wellness of a child. The usual practice is to ask the child to draw anything they like. The colours they use, and the expressions on the human/animal faces give them an idea about the emotions running through the child. Art helps in the emotional and cognitive development of the child. The more visuals a child uses to express himself or herself means the child’s emotional quotient (EQ) is extremely high. These days, psychologists emphasize EQ more than IQ. It reflects upon the child’s problem and conflict-resolving abilities in inter and intra-personal relationships.

There is a quote that I strongly believe in: “Art lies in the eyes of the beholder just like beauty.” In the same way, it is the way you see art. Every person will have their interpretations of art or any artwork. It is true for performing arts as well.

Why do kids fall in love with art? When asked, they told me

1.  We love the colours – bright and vibrant.
2.  Gives us unlimited happiness.
3.  Love it as a hobby.
4.  Curiosity to experiment.
5.  To be an artist when we grow up.
6.  We can design buildings, cars.
7.  We can do whatever we want in a drawing or painting.
8.  Freedom to be ourselves – on stage, on paper.

The above made me reflect on how much we underestimate the power of art and the magic we can spread if we encourage art in future generations. Let’s raise a healthy, heartfelt generation of children who will make a beautiful space in this world and make it a better place to live in.

Signing off with a quote by Vincent Van Gogh: “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced”. Wishing the world to be filled with more artists and emotionally beautiful people!

Follow Priya Rajendran

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