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Advocacy [Question]

How to present why art is important to boys

Started on Sep 06, 2012 by imagiNATION
Last post on Sep 16, 2012

I have boys who decided they want to join the army and you don't use art in the army so art is dumb. I of course gave them a mini-spiel on why art is important for your brain and life, etc. but would like to do a more solid presentation so they know it isn't just the opinion of their crazy art teacher. Any suggestions?

5 Keeps, 1 Likes, 9 Comments

  • jfrisco 09/06/2012 at 06:09pm
    I was a graphic designer, animator and photographer in the USAF for 7 years before becoming an Art Teacher. The military NEEDS artists.

    Compile a list of Art related careers to hang in the art room. That has provoked a lot of meaningful conversation amongst students in my experience. Here is one source:

    The following is an AWESOME video that my students have enjoyed stressing ART in the world.

    Hope it helps!

  • jfrisco 09/06/2012 at 06:30pm
    Another idea - I had a guest artist come in last year to meet with our Art Club and 5th graders. He is an awesome skateboard designer with a remarkable personal journey that led him there. He is now a national spokesperson for Sharpie markers. Check out his website. He's awesome. This REALLY motivated the boys a LOT! If you could sponsor him, or another male role model that could connect to your students' interests... that would be ideal.

    Tell him I referred you. He's extremely reasonable and connects amazingly to the kids. He talked about his interest in Art starting in the 3rd grade, and how it helped to form his passions and goals in life.

  • imagiNATION 09/07/2012 at 04:59am
    Thank you so much for the suggestions!

  • lightARTed 09/07/2012 at 08:53am
    The ability to problem solve is the mark of a creative person, one who thinks "outside the box", is knowledgeable in many areas and has imagination. The military, and just about any career choice out there will require it's people to problem solve on a daily basis, only a creative person will be the one who can come up with the solution. Maybe challenge your students with projects where you present them a problem/criteria and they must think of an artistic solutions. Creativity is not just about being able to draw good, is what I always say.

  • Taurine75 09/09/2012 at 12:46pm
    Great suggestions here. Here are some nuggets from my experience:

    1) Honor and appeal to their interests and sensibilities. I teach in a very difficult and urban setting where the parents of my students encourage their children to find work (immediately after school or during) to help out the family. The road to success is a long one but I do show them how profitable art careers can be via snap shots of salaries. I've also shown students video clips of artists (with similar backgrounds) who currently create work relating to their interests. Many of these artists were former gang members, social misfits, and/or graffiti artists who "made it" in the real world. My high school art students can't fathom being "older" so I tell them that running from the authorities, for example, will be very difficult when they're my age (37) so they better start planting those success seeds early. This always draws a laughter but it makes sense.

    2) I dedicate the second day of school with a self-made keynote presentation based off of Betty Edward's book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. MANY of our students refuse to put forth any effort in class due to fears and common misconceptions. Remember, it's ALL about their self perception. Students also want to know the "why" of everything and this book breaks down why they currently draw the way they draw masterfully.

    3) Evidence of success. I teach beginning drawing and it is important to show previous student artwork on my walls from day one. Kids (and adults) need to see it to believe it. It's not good enough to show only your artwork and/or artwork from master artists. My students come in thinking they're not skilled or talented so it's my job to tear down those walls the first month of school. Therefore, my walls are mostly filled with previous student artwork that EXCEEDS their own expectations. I set a very high bar and most of students meet it. Check out their work here:

  • Monty15 09/10/2012 at 09:10am
    When my oldest son joined the Marines we went on Family Visitation Day and I walked through the museum to discover a whole room it seemed devoted to an artist who joined the Marines back in the 1940s. His name escapes me at the moment. Art in the military IS important in that those artists can produce high level presentations and advance a career in the public sector after they complete their military life. The knowledge they learn in the military can also help in engineering, drafting, architecture, graphic design, animation, etc.

  • imagiNATION 09/11/2012 at 08:49pm
    Thank you so much everyone. Even just from sharing some of your comments my boys are coming around. lightARTed, I couldn't agree more! Taurine75 I have heard a lot about that book. I think I will have to check it out and maybe plan a little something for the second 9 weeks (I get new kids already!) Is there a specific part you base your presentation on or do you just kind of clif notes the main ideas of the book in general? I guess it will be helpful if I check it out and then ask questions...Monty15 thanks for the personal experience. If you think of the name, definitely share!

  • imagiNATION 09/11/2012 at 08:58pm
    Taurine75 just checked out your art room. So much inspiration in there! I think I will definitely be putting up more visuals for my students. Love the idea of displaying personal travel photos, your aspirations and their work. Great way to take art out of the hands of old dead guys and put right in their laps. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • pencilsandpalettes 09/16/2012 at 03:26pm
    I love the idea of a guest speaker! I'm working on getting a professional drafter to demonstrate his skills to my art students... what about an engineer or architect?