Monday, April 21, 2014

But WHY Is Art Important?

*note: my editor husband said I had the longest run on sentences in history of the world in this post. *also note: I am leaving it in.

But WHY is art important?
I don't know about you, but my kids say that to me a lot. 
It sort of makes me want to spray them with glue and cover them with glitter. 
Just kidding, that would be cruel.
      To answer, I usually start off by listing jobs that require an art background, tattoo artist, architect, animator, interior designer, fashion designer, illegal graffiti artist... and while that does make sense to them, it also is usually followed with, "but I am not going to do anything like that when I grow up."
       My face usually sours by this point. I stand up on a desk, Dead Poets Society style and start into my speech (ok this is a major exaggeration but stay with me). Art is so so so very important. It is the lens that helps you see the world, it teaches you about working cooperatively, it teaches you how to take criticism, it helps you relate to a person who at first seemed unrelatable, it teaches you about life, about history and literature, math and science, it shows you places that would have otherwise been left unseen, it makes you think, laugh, cry, it makes you angry, it makes you happy. Art evokes so many emotions if you take the time to stop and look. Henry Miller said it best, "Art teaches us nothing, except the significance of life."

Here are some things that I have used/will be using to help make connections between other subjects and art.


Have you seen this movie? I haven't yet but I will be showing this preview in my seventh grade classes. Right now they are learning about WWII, and could easily see connections between History and Art.

I love this article about Keith Haring painting on the Berlin Wall.

This tribute to those who lost their lives during the battle of Normandy speaks volumes.

Language Arts/ Current Events

There are tons of interesting articles about art, and with the internet they are at our finger tips. I think Pixar is the greatest and I love this article about how entangled every movie is.

This article about Mona Lisa's twin would be a great way to tie current events with recognizable art.

Artist Chad Wright created this piece, which is similar to the Normandy tribute in many ways. If you were talking about the US current economy issues this would be a great visual to bring up.


There are some really really great pieces out there that use art to explore and learn about Science.

Check out one of Van Gogh's pieces made up entirely of plants.

Did you know artist Charley Harper illustrated the Golden Book of Biology?

I really love Michelle Lougee environment art ( I really dig any sort of sea creature art)


This was my most difficult subject but in reality we use math a lot in art.

Like this project that uses geometry with some beautiful results.

Or my Danny Haas inspired self portraits (shameless plug)

Also any sort of perspective lesson would incorporate both art and math and could be taught by either teacher!

There are tons of ways for an Art Teacher to incorporate other subject matters in the classroom, but there are also tons of opportunities for core classes to incorporate art. What are some things that you have used that have worked?

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