There is a German saying, “Angst Essen Seele Auf”, that translates to mean, “fear eats the soul”. It is important to know that everyone can make art but the biggest obstacle to doing so is fear. The art teacher provides boundaries so that the element of fear can be removed. Boundaries can inspire our curiosity. Art is one of the few places in a student’s structured day when they can safely experiment with taking risks, making odd choices, and develop thinking in original ways. In the art studio experimentation is a means, and failure is courted while searching for the unique voice. Techniques, limiting parameters of an assignment, insights from research and our history, etc…are brought together in support of artistic exploration.
Art can be taught. You do not have to be born good at it. (That is why we have art teachers!) Another saying, a Spanish proverb, is “a life lived in fear is a life half lived”. Art is the place to round out the lives of our students. It is the place for them to stretch to their fullest potential in the realm of decision-making and discovery. As an art teacher, I strive to make my assignments relevant to the student’s lives. Each class is structured to exercise skills and establish a safe place for leaps of faith. I believe that, in taking those leaps, the student sees who they are, who they might become, who they do not want to be, and in the process, they find their soul.