Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ten Reasons Why Art Is Good For Kids

Ten Reasons Why Art Is Good For Kids

1) Art Teaches Problem Solving. Making art teaches that there is more than one solution to the same problem. Art challenges our beliefs and encourages open-ended thinking that creates an environment of questions rather than answers.

2) Art Prepares Kids for the Future. Creative, open-minded people are highly desired in all career paths. Art and creative education increases the future quality of the local and global community. Being creative is a life long skill and can be used in every day situations.

3) Art Generates a Love of Learning & New Ideas. Art develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. Art teaches risk taking, learning from one’s mistakes, and being open to other possibilities. Kids who are creative are also curious and passionate about knowing more.

4) Art is Big Business. At the core of the multi-billion dollar film and video game industry are artists creating images and stories. Every commercial product is designed by artists from chairs to cars, space stations to iPods. A Van Gogh painting sold for 83 million dollars.

5) Art Develops the Whole Brain. Art strengthens focus and increases attention, develops hand-eye coordination, requires practice and strategic thinking, and involves interacting with the material world through different tools and art mediums.

6) Art Improves Holistic Health. Art builds self-esteem, increases motivation and student attendance, improves grades and communications, nurtures teamwork, and strengthens our relationship to the environment.

7) Art Supports Emotional Intelligence. Art supports the expression of complex feelings that help kids feel better about themselves and helps them understand others by “seeing” what they have expressed and created. Art supports personal meaning in life, discovering joy in one’s own self, often being surprised, and then eliciting it in others.

8) Art Builds Community. Art reaches across racial stereotypes, religious barriers, and socio-economical levels and prejudices. Seeing other culture's creative expression allows everyone to be more connected and less isolated - "we see how we are all related." Art creates a sense of belonging.

9) Art Awakens the Senses. Art opens the heart and mind to possibilities and fuels the imagination. Art is a process of learning to create ourselves and experience the world in new ways. Arts support the bigger picture view of life: beauty, symbols, spirituality, storytelling, and helps us step out of time allowing one to be present in the moment. Art keeps the magic alive.

10) Art is Eternal. Creativity and self-expression has always been essential to our humanity. Our earliest creative expressions were recorded in petroglyphs, cave paintings, and ancient sculptures. One of the first things kids do is draw, paint, and use their imaginations to play.

Mark Wagner © 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chalk One Up for the Arts - Edutopia Article

Chalk One Up for the Arts: A Record-Breaking Coloring Project

We just got some exciting press by magazine - EDUTOPIA
from the George Lucas Educational Foundation



Sunday, January 20, 2008

It Will Take A Legion of Artists - Louise Music

The KIDS CHALK ART PROJECT is an example of the essential role of the artist in our communities and our schools. For the last 40 years, there has been basically no arts education in our public schools, save for sporadic music programs frequently funded by local Parent Teacher Associations, or visual and performing arts programs funded through special grants with and through community arts organizations.

Today there is historic funding in the state budget, as Governor Schwarzenegger and the California State legislature have recognized that our public schools need to broaden the narrow focus on math, language arts and improving test scores. It is simply not good enough for our children. The needs of the 21st century workforce call for citizens who can collaborate, solve problems and design new solutions. Healthy communities require young people with hope, imagination, compassion and creativity.

109 million dollars in the state budget this year is being dispersed throughout the state and all of the school districts in Alameda County are creating district wide arts learning plans. Alameda Unified School district is developing a district wide visual and performing arts plan to bring learning in and through the arts to every child in every school every day, under the leadership of Superintendent Ardella Dailey and Assistant Superintendent Debbie Wong. They are receiving support and coaching from the Alameda County Office of Education.

But bringing arts learning into our schools will take more than an influx of new dollars. Many of our public school teachers have had little or no experience in the arts in their own educations or teacher preparation. Many community members may not understand why the arts in schools matter so much and why we should come together as a community to address this gap.

The KIDS CHALK ART PROJECT is a public art experience that invites all our children to learn new skills to express their creativity and ideas, for every child to experience success and recognition, and for the community to see the imagination of our young people become visible in Alameda. We must recognize the learning needs of every child and provide a well-rounded education that develops the opportunity for every child to engage in school, persist through problems, observe the world around them deeply, and make new meaning.

Mark Wagner has designed a project to help students, parents teachers and community members glimpse the potential of every child in Alameda and generate new hope for what is possible in our schools and in our shared future.

It will take a legion of artists, like Mark Wagner, dedicated to bringing the opportunity and right to full human expression through the arts to every child in every school. The Alameda County Office of Education is partnering with our local school districts to prepare artists to work with teachers to integrate arts learning into our educational environments and aim it at the learning in science, history and math required, so that every child has the opportunity to learn in the way he or she learns best.

Louise Music - Arts Learning Coordinator
Project Director, Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership
Alameda County Office of Education
Art is Education

19 Weeks to GO


Things are moving along at a fast click. We are having weekly team meetings, seeking an immediate fund raising person and down the short road events producer. Everyone is constantly networking and spreading the word to get the buzz going and out into the world.

We have begun to visit all the elementary schools of Alameda CA, presenting out project using a laptop and projector. We begin by using Google Earth and start in outer space zooming down, giving quick geography lessons until we see the small island of Alameda (off the coast of Oakland). We zoom in until we are at the kid's school (they love this). We then visit the site on the Base where we will be drawing come end of May. At the end we tell the kids an on-going evolving story about 2 kids getting lost and how they help and are helped out by the environment and by animals that are their school mascots (totem animals like the Falcon, Otter, or Owl). Then we go chalk draw on the playground.

We are excited to be having an article come out this week about our project by "Edutopia", a magazine by the George Lucas Education Foundation. Should come out Weds. Jan. 23. It will be in the "Head of Class" section. www.edutopia.org

We networked well at the Mac World Expo in San Francisco. Good things should come out of that! Stay tuned...

Updated FlickR Gallery with various Chalk Drawings Events including the schools.

~Mark Wagner
Creative Director
Alameda, CA USA - Photo: © Google Earth