Arts nuggets to fill you up!

By, Damilola Paula Ojo.

Like chicken nuggets need fries, I hope this article stirs up the need for art in your life. LOL!

The word “art” has been defined as so many things from its origin as far back as the stone age when cavemen implemented their creativity in the creation of farming/hunting tools to the most recent forms known as contemporary art.

The amazing part of the rigidity in giving art a specific definition is the fact that it means different things to different people, ranging from ethnicity to means of worship, to history but a binding factor for all of these would be that art is a means of “expression”. Unlike the logical parts of life, art isn’t restricted, regulated or bound by routine. There is no “right way” of doing it and that’s what makes it unique as everyone has a place in art.

Neuroscience research shows strong connections between arts learning and improved cognitive development. Several studies report improvements in cognitive function and self-reported quality of life for older adults who engage in the arts and creative activities, compared to those who do not.

Why do we need art?

Language Development: People making art or just talking about it, provides opportunities to learn words for colors, shapes and action. It allows people from different cultures and different times to communicate with each other via images, sounds and stories. Art is often a vehicle for social change. Art is a means of communication.

Decision Making: According to a report by Americans for the Arts, art education strengthens problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. The experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life. “If they are exploring and thinking and experimenting and trying new ideas, then creativity has a chance to blossom,” says MaryAnn Kohl.

Visual Learning: Drawing, sculpting with clay and threading beads on a string all develop visual-spatial skills, which are more important than ever. Even toddlers know how to operate a smartphone or tablet, which means that even before they can read, kids are taking in visual information. This information consists of cues that we get from pictures or three-dimensional objects from digital media, books and television. Knowledge about the visual arts, such as graphic symbolism, is especially important in helping people become smart consumers and navigate a world filled with marketing logos.

Inventiveness: When people are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” says Kohl. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!”

Cultural Awareness: As we live in an increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may also present mixed messages. “If a child is playing with a toy that suggests a racist or sexist meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy—the color, shape, texture of the hair,” says Freedman. Teaching children to recognize the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject helps kids understand the concept that what they see maybe someone’s interpretation of reality.

Improved Academic Performance: Studies show that there is a correlation between art and other achievements. A report by Americans for the Arts states that people who participate regularly in the arts (three hours a day on three days each week through one full year) are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than people who do not participate.