Visual Arts Deparment
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A visual arts education is essential to the fundamental growth and development of all students. As an important component of a well-rounded learning experience, art education is a powerful influence in making students more discriminating and more sensitive to the things they see, use, and create in their everyday lives. Art helps students make informed, conscious aesthetic judgments and decisions. The North Allegheny Visual Arts Department believes that every student’s life will be enriched and improved through art education, that they will become life-long learners and patrons of art, and that they will join in the continuing conversation about the nature and meaning of art in life. The North Allegheny Visual Arts Department also believes that all students benefit equally from art education and that opportunities for art education should be accessible and inclusive to every child.
The content of art education is formed by the knowledge, understanding, and skills drawn from Art Production, Art History, Art Criticism, and Aesthetic Appreciation. The basic content of the North Allegheny Visual Arts curriculum consists of the interweaving of these four strands and is further framed by engagement in the artistic processes of creating, presenting, responding, and connecting, which are paramount to a quality visual arts education in the 21st Century. Art Production is the primary approach to understanding, responding to, and appreciating visual arts through actual engagement in the creative process, where students learn to discover and formulate original ideas and effectively present them visually. Art History provides students with the opportunity to discover and make connections to how art of the past and present has reflected, communicated, and influenced the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of people throughout the history of human civilization. Art Criticism is the study of applying informed criteria for responding to and evaluating works of art, developing careful attention to detail and the ability to analyze and make meaning of a complex array of visual information in artworks, and learning to distinguish between subjective and objective criteria by looking at multiple critics’ points of view and methods. Finally, Aesthetic Appreciation synthesizes Art Production, Art History, and Art Criticism to arrive at the position of valuing the artists, the processes, and the products of visual art, and involves having a well-developed, knowledgeable standard of belief for measuring the purpose, significance, and benefits of art.
It is the belief of the North Allegheny Visual Arts Department that all professions and career paths benefit greatly from a foundation in the arts. Engaging in the visual arts helps children develop significant dispositions that are receiving increased support as vital skills for living in the 21st Century. These skills not only include the “four C’s”: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication; but also innovation, flexibility and adaptability. A visual arts education is significant to the development of creativity, which has become one of the most important attributes sought after by businesses and companies looking to hire 21st Century college graduates.
From a global perspective, art education teaches visual literacy, which is vital to the development of citizens in our society. The visual arts are considered one of the primary forms of communication, and the ability to make discerning evaluations of symbolic communications is critical in preparing children to live in our contemporary world. The creation of art is a discipline involving a structured creative process. The study and practice of art serves to facilitate organization, planning, goal setting, research, idea formation, observational skills, creative thinking, risk-taking, personal realization, reflective habits, and the ability to carry an idea through to completion. The visual arts stimulate a behavior of sustained engagement, self-discipline, and persistence that results in a higher quality of product or creation. Art education fosters the capacity to appreciate diversity, and through art, students learn respect, attitudes, and values that have value in a global society.