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|Art is natural, right from an early age. The child's garden [of art] is missing in America today. A child should begin to work with materials just as soon as he is able to hold a ball. By holding a ball, a child gets a sense of the universe and there is a closeness to God. The ball of sphere leads the child to other geometric shapes-the cone, the triangle, and cylinder. He is now on the threshold of nature itself. When a child begins to work with materials and begins to create...a new world is open to him.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Every student is capable of singing, dancing, acting, drawing, and learning about arts history, criticism, and aesthetics. Every student has the potential to meet the state standards for arts if given the opportunity.
Arts instruction should begin in the preschool years. Students are seriously disadvantaged when school districts fail to begin a systematic program of arts instruction by grade one. However, very young children should not be encumbered with the need to meet performance standards. The attainment of a predetermined performance level by each preschool child is neither essential nor appropriate.
The study of the arts is essential to a basic K-12 education. Civilizations are remembered by their arts-the richest and most far-reaching expressions of human creativity, thought, and emotion. Therefore, every Alaskan student must have experience in arts production, arts history/culture, arts criticism/analysis, and aesthetics. Arts education must be delivered in sequential, disciplined, quality programs in every school in Alaska if our students are to have a complete education and compete in a broadening world.
The arts are unique in that they encourage many fine academic traits in children while allowing open-ended, creative work. The arts require self-discipline, perseverance, and hard work. They help children build basic thinking skills and develop problem-posing and problem-solving abilities. Statistically, students involved in arts classes score higher on nationally scored exams than students who are not. Further, the arts promote skills necessary to the workplace, such as the ability to work with others and to manage time and resources. The arts illustrate the universality of creative expression, and cross-cultural understanding is often developed through the study of the arts. But most of all, the arts ask children to develop their own responses to questions. This is unusual in our educational system and requires courage to act when the possibility of failure is quite real. In fact, the arts mimic life in that success may only be achieved after a very long, sustained effort; failure is seen as a step in the learning process.
Success in the arts education can be improved through the State Board of Education's continuing support of the standards process and processes encouraging changes in how we go about helping students meet high standards. For example, teaching certification standards need to include arts courses, especially for elementary certification; this would encourage universities to follow suit in preparing their candidates. Current teachers must receive the professional development they need to implement high standards.
Through experience in dance, drama, music, and the visual and literary arts, students discover their creative abilities. When students participate in the arts, they develop an inventive spirit, expand their critical thinking skills, become self-disciplined, and learn to accept ambiguity or even failure as part of the learning process. They learn to see the whole and its parts simultaneously. The arts validate personal perception and intuition, foster imagination, and promote creativity while fulfilling spiritual needs. They allow students to engage in the discipline of the creative process and teach them to persevere until they achieve the pride of accomplishment.
Through the study of arts history, we learn to understand cultures. In a world that grows increasingly diverse, understanding of one another is essential. Much of what we know of cultures comes to us through artistic forms of communication. The historical study of the arts teaches that not only does society influence art, but art influences society.
People make judgments about the arts they see, feel, and experience. Art criticism is a judgment based on thoughtful analysis and interpretation which occurs after a process of organized investigation. Critiques are essential in the arts for both the artist and the audience. Through critiques, students learn to use appropriate vocabulary to evaluate their works and the works of others. Although conclusions may be contradictory, each person's educated critique is valid. Through the process of arts criticism and reflection, new ideas are produced, expanding meaning of works of art and life.
People have a need for beauty and meaning to connect time and
space, experience and event, body and spirit, intellect and emotion.
We create art to make these connections, to express the otherwise
inexpressible. The arts are a unique source of enjoyment and delight,
providing the Aha! of discovery when we see ourselves and
others in a new way, grasp a deeper insight, or find our imaginations
refreshed. The arts bring us face to face with what we intuitively
sense lies beyond ourselves. Because the arts cause us to face
situations where there is no standard or approved answer, we become
acquainted with many perspectives on the meaning of value and
develop a personal sense of what is beautiful.
(For further information, refer to "The Characteristics of
Quality Arts Programs" in Content Chapter 3. For specific
examples of curriculum and instruction programs, refer to both
Content and Instruction/Assessment sections in the Arts Reference
|All of the arts provide ways in which man can bring shape and order to his fragmented and rapidly changing world. But dance provides a primary medium for expression in involving the total self...dance and the movement that produces it is 'me' and, as such, is the most intimate of expressive media.
The performance standards are adapted by the Alaska Arts Framework
Development Committee from the National Standards for Art Education,
A.G. Gilbert's Creative Dance for All Ages, MENC Performance
Standards for Music, and the Wyoming Arts Framework. They are
offered here to assist in local curriculum development and are
in no way required.