Pomegranates are a most interesting fruit; the beautiful pinkish-red skin holds hundreds of delicious juicy seeds. One seed alone is not filling or desirable. Art education, like the pomegranate, requires many areas of importance in order to be complete.
From the formal foundations of what makes a piece of art look good and the technical aspects of different materials and disciplines to presentation and discussion, a thorough education in the arts encompasses a challenging range of themes.
As a liberal arts school, Davidson College required art majors to learn “The List’’ of artists and be able to discuss them as part of an oral exam. Looking at so many, many artists introduced a dizzying amount of visual material and enabled students to place themselves in context of the art world. This visual vocabulary can bypass words and allow a discussion on a level where language falls short. I believe it is imperative that students learn truly learn to look at art and then absorb a wide range of artwork to bolster their contextual foundation.
Also, I believe students can find their own rhythm or voice through parameters of projects. Whether they know it or not, students’ unique style becomes evident as a thread throughout their work. Looking at a body of seemingly diverse work, one can see commonalities and patterns that are not apparent in a cohesive body of work. It is those patterns a student must learn to highlight and take ownership. Through the process of learning techniques and challenging boundaries of a project, students learn what they have to say and how they choose to say it.
Finally, as Tony Cragg sent directions for a driftwood drawing and Alberto Giacometti carried a small tin of sculptures in his pocket during the war, art needs to be created through determination and resourcefulness often found in the observation and living of real life. Art education teaches us the best answer to the problem is often already known and sometimes expressed through the materials already on the kitchen counter.