children and the arts Archives - Infinity Arts Center

July 1, 2019
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We live in a world of complementary dualities, each of which is a part of a complete whole.  Light complements dark, sorrow complements joy, effort complements ease, sleep and relaxation (down time) complement our working life.  In life as in art, the negative spaces empower and define the positive ones.  Each defines the other, each gives life to the other, and thus in our world the whole exists.  They are sides of a single coin.

In fashion now are the sciences, currently called STEM, science, technology, engineering and math.  Sciences are concerned with the physical world, the observable and quantifiable.  They seek to understand how the physical universe is constructed, how it works, how it might be changed to adapt to circumstances, how it might serve people.   The sciences work with what can be logically proven or disproven through experimentation.   Together, the sciences have brought about immense and rapid advances in our understanding and in applications in our physical world.

My grandmother began life in a world in which the use of horses was still common.  Before she passed, men traveled to the moon.  Technology in the present advances even more rapidly. The quickened pace of these advances comes at a cost.  In order to devote the amount of attention and cultural value to STEM topics and to fully support these rapid advances, we have largely neglected the partner of STEM, the arts.

Arts – visual arts, music, dance, theater, literature, philosophy and writing, to include some – are more concerned with that which is less readily apprehensible.  Arts apply themselves to our values, our pursuit of wisdom, subjective perceptions and emotions, and to concepts such as joy, beauty and existential truth.  STEM deals exceptionally well with the concretely physical; arts express marvelously our souls.  Both are necessary.

Our world today is unbalanced; some would say it is chaotic.   This is not amazing if we notice that we have neglected the sisters of STEM.  The whole cannot be complete while only half of it is fully accepted and appreciated.  Putting an “A” into the acronym “STEM” to make “STEAM” does little.  The four strands of STEM are still emphasized while the arts are lumped together and given lip service.

At one time – my grandmother’s and maybe also my mother’s – arts had a greater place in our culture.  Schools gave emphasis to literature, writing and music.  Elocution, painting, drawing and crafts were also given instructional time, and exhibitions of these were valued.  Dance and theater were not only performing arts, to be enjoyed if one had time and money, but also often popular pastimes.   In private life, there was time to create beauty.   Math and science were certainly not ignored, but the whole was more balanced.

Not so today.  Schools emphasize and promote STEM subjects, and parents rush to enroll their children in STEM summer camps and extracurricular lessons. Arts in the schools are underfunded and minimal.

We have lost something.  Social structures have lost center or direction as they change and grow.  Balance is good as change progresses; it keeps the change from falling into destructive chaos.  We have lost that balance, that sense of direction, that guidance system.  Some would say we have lost our soul.  Re-including and re-establishing the importance of what we have neglected can help restore what we have lost.

Let us individually grow our whole selves, both the logical and the intuitive, with a sense of the wonder of the universe.

Peace, Diane

You can find more from Diane at  http://thevoicefromthebackrow.com/


June 28, 2019
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Experiencing the arts is an important part of the human experience. The arts compel us to look within ourselves, to engage different points of view and to see the beauty in both the ordinary and the spectacular.

 

Almost as soon as children develop motor skills, they begin creating art with crayons and finger paints. As adults, people who participate in the arts display more civic engagement and social tolerance.

 

Most of us view the arts as a positive aspect of human life, but what are some concrete benefits that art participation provides? Read on to learn about four ways art can make us better people in a better society.

 

1.      Communication Skills

 

Whether it is a painting, song or other form, art is an expression of a feeling or thought. Sometimes we can’t put things into words, and sometimes feelings are more beautiful when not boxed into a set of words. We can find release and meaning through artistic expression.

 

2.      Problem-Solving Skills

 

Participating in the arts requires constant experimentation and assessment. Should a scene in a play be interpreted this way, or would another approach work better? How should I choreograph this dance to most clearly show my intent? This process improves the artist’s problem-solving skills.

 

3.      Social & Emotional Skills

 

Oftentimes, the arts are a group experience, from playing an instrument in a band to being part of a theatre production. These experiences teach cooperation and positive interaction. Art also teaches us how to confront and relay our emotions. Participation helps form a healthy sense of self and identity as well as fosters self-efficacy.

 

4.      Self-Expression and Creativity

 

One of the best things about creativity is that there is no “right” or “wrong.” Young people, especially, can benefit from an environment that is inclusive and encourages creative and self-expression.

 

We have so many camps, classes, workshops and after-school experiences that teach and celebrate the arts. We invite you and your child to participate in the arts with us and to reap the many benefits such participation provides.