The eighteenth century British poet and essayist Joseph Addison said, “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.” No other statement could sum up the core of art education. Teaching artists not only teach children to sculpt clay, we also sculpt the imagination. A teaching artist is very fortunate in that he or she will be able to create confidence in students through allowing them self-expression, regardless of mastery level. Art allows a child, who otherwise would not be able to communicate, share their view of the world and express themselves fully.
Through developing skills with media and techniques ranging from simple pencil drawing to wire sculpture, students discover new problem solving abilities, higher order thinking skills, and creativity. Through the study of aesthetics and art criticism, students learn critical thinking and come to appreciate art in their everyday lives. When a student discovers the joy of creating a piece of artwork and of having others appreciate that work leads to self-confidence. The results of a student’s hard work are tangible and immediate. Skills mastered in an art class can be carried throughout other school subjects and into the rest of the students’ lives. Art education is not only teaching arts and crafts, it instills in the student a new way of synthesizing knowledge by making the hands busy and the mind active. Children create knowledge and that knowledge makes a lasting impact.