There are two distinct areas of study to focus upon when teaching kids art production: the technical, and the analytical. The far easier of the two is the technical aspects of whatever media is being explored in a given project. Demonstrating and familiarizing student s with the various processes and procedures associated with a specific medium is always fun and relatively straightforward. Typically the students are excited to get to work and dive into their projects eager to make a calculated mess with the newly discovered materials. It is only then that a majority of them realize they lack the second and more important ingredient of art making: the ever illusive idea. This particular component of the creative process has long plagued both veteran artists and beginning students seemingly for as long as we as a species have been making marks.
There is a fascinatingly complex relationship for students to discover between the physical act of making art, and the psychological reasoning behind it. Art, at its core, is a form of communication; a vehicle of expression. And whether it is sophisticated or shallow, there needs to be some degree of motivation behind an artwork if it is to stand any chance of resonating with an audience. In other words, the artist needs to know why they are creating a particular image and allow that reasoning to influence the direction of the work. Otherwise the work is in danger of becoming another trite image in an ever expanding ocean of kitsch. Even work created with exceptional technical skill, if lacking a clearly defined purpose, becomes a transparent window exposing the artist’s lack of intention.
Thru Nov 18
Skies Alive: Bird Migration in the Garden State
Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown, 973-971-3700 . Get a close-up look at New Jersey’s ecosystems through the eyes of a migrating bird in this interactive exhibit. The exhibit follows the Red Knot, the Bobolink and other migrating birds as they make their unbelievable trek north passing through New Jersey. The two birds are among 320 species and millions of birds that pass through New Jersey as part of their migration along the Atlantic Flyway navigational route.
Thru Sep 2
New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Queens, 718-699-0005 . Explore animation from concept to finished product — from storyboarding, character design, and drawing techniques to movement, timing, filming and sound. Larger-than-life graphics of popular Cartoon Network characters provide a colorful backdrop to the exhibition, which also explores the history of animation and features a screening room and a cartoon museum. Ages 4 and older. While there, explore the outdoor Science Playground and play a game of Rocket Park Mini Golf, open weather permitting. Special family activities and presentations most weekends.
Thru Sep 3
In the Dark
Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City, 201-253-1310 . What goes bump in the dark? Lots of interesting creatures! Walk through dim dioramas of the deep ocean floor, a nighttime forest, a cave and more, and see what you can spot.
A statewide survey of arts education programs in New Jersey schools released Thursday finds a correlation between schools with more arts education programs and greater proficiency scores on the language sections of the state’s High School Proficiency Assessment.
The report is a follow-up to one conducted in 2007, and is a joint project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the state Department of Education, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, ArtPride New Jersey Foundation, and Quadrant Arts Education Research.
While the findings are significant, they come as no surprise to East Brunswick Supervisor of Arts Education Jeffrey Lesser, who attended Thursday’s presentation of the survey.
“For many years there have been multiple studies regarding the ‘tangential benefits; of Arts Education and the obvious difference in test scores for those students who study these creative processes,” he said. “Even the College Board came out with a study of higher SAT results for these students. I think this is fantastic, but I don’t regard the arts as being just a supplement to math or language arts. I see that the real value of an Arts Education is the outlet for expression that the arts provide. Having the opportunity to create a work of art, perform music, act in a play, or dance expressively is essential for every human being. It is the glue that holds society together, while still making each culture unique.”
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