In a world that is increasingly more focused on technology and trades for future job markets, visual arts are almost always the first to go when cuts must be made.
Our school boards, however, still make room for arts in the curriculum, even if it is considered an elective rather than a core course. Mind you, in this province, you only have to take geography and history once each in high school, because why would you need to know where you come from or how to get somewhere?
Visual arts is not a fluff course for people who don’t want to do actual work. Ask any art student and they will tell you how their teacher challenges them to reach deep for inspiration and motivation, and how creating a piece of art can leave you exhausted both mentally and physically.
Art has the ability to relax and soothe, yet at the same time, excite and challenge you. And our students need that kind of outlet in their life. When an emotion may be hard to articulate, drawing or painting or sculpting can be a way to get it out, and to heal.
How many times has a picture or art piece made you pause and just “be” for a moment?
Art is something we too infrequently value, but we really can’t do without.
The visual arts teachers at our Chatham-Kent high schools really deserve a great deal of credit for collaborating on a Student Art Show that helps students dig deep and feel to create art pieces to share with the community.
On May 2-9, take a few minutes to visit the show at the Downtown Chatham Centre, and appreciate the creativity and talent from our teens. Every minute they spend in creative contemplation as an outlet for their emotions is a minute not spent on drugs or other harmful behaviours.
There is a reason therapists use art to help draw out their clients – because it works where words sometimes don’t, and it is soothing to the soul. It’s time to support creative pursuits for our students at home and at school. Hopefully the government is listening.