We were at the local fine arts museum recently to see an exhibit of award winning work by local middle and high schoolers. While there were some absolute stand outs, the quality was incredibly high across the board. The age of the artists ranged from twelve to eighteen. Not all of these young people will end up pursuing a career in art or even study it past high school. Whatever their eventual line of work, this talent will only serve them well.
Browsing through the gallery, I was thinking about J's art program in school. Each year budgets are pared just some more and the teachers are begging for any help they can get so kids have supplies to work with. There is a certain cramping of freedom and expression that comes with such hardship. So an expensive project is substituted by a cheaper one. Oil paints are postponed for now and the kids make do with watercolors and charcoal. The thwarting of creativity in the art studio may well be impacting other areas of study. The desire to delve deep into a topic maybe the equivalent of the sculpture assignment that never got done for lack of supplies. Instead a simple pen and ink drawing of the would be object was produced. A kid may similarly simplify a complex research projects - skills and habits learned in one subject are somewhat transferable to others.