My French professor told our class once that without art, there is no beauty, and without beauty, humanity cannot exist. It was much more elegant and beautiful than that, but I think the importance of art, especially for children, is a subject we need to address. After reading an article from the Huffington Post, I realized how important art has been in my personal education and growth, and that everyone should be able to appreciate art.
When I was little, my parents always took my younger brother and I out on excursions so we could learn from experience. I owe much of my critical thinking and analytical skills to these outings. The summer before my senior year of high school, I had the amazing opportunity to do a French homestay program though the Choate Rosemary Hall school, and I learned so much about art and art history that I have so wanted to visit the Louvre again. Last summer, my dad and I visited the Louvre with some family friends, but being able to retain the art history and knowledge I learned from the homestay program combined with what I have learned made this visit all that more powerful.
Here's where you might think I am a nerd, but I am absolutely in love with the painting, "Le Radeau de la Méduse" by Géricault, and seeing it in person this past summer made me realize how valuable art and beauty is to our being.
It's extremely difficult to describe the feeling I had when looking at this painting. On the Choate homestay program, I had an amazing art history teacher who told us how the painting was composed, and how it represents themes of French romanticism. When I was looking at it again this past summer, I felt happy. It is almost indescribable what I felt, but it was as if in synthesizing all this information from my art history teacher and appreciating the painting, my soul felt happy too. Maybe you think I am weird, but it made me feel almost cleansed in a sense. I felt as if I were the only person in the museum and time sort of stopped for me to bask in the beauty of this painting.
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And beauty does not have to be limited to paintings! Sculpture, music, writing, nature, and even people are all beautiful. I think being able to see beauty in the world not only helped me grow as a person, but it also made me want to share this amazing experience with everyone.
Art is a vast and complex subject, but I think it is necessary for children especially to be exposed to art because they have such magical imaginations that art could ignite a flame in a child and be a vehicle to which they find their passion.
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In the Huffington Post article, three main points are explained as to why children are the future of art. One point that struck a chord with me was that museum tours promote critical thinking skills. What if encouraging children to visit museums and look and analyze art lead to one of these children's ability to use their critical thinking skills to find solutions to some of society’s problems? What if one child figures out how to cure cancer, or develop a sustainable solution for production to protect the environment while also helping the economy?
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I know this all sounds crazy, but critical thinking skills are an important life skill, and based on personal experience, art has provided me with significant development in these skills.
Art is not only important for adults, it is important for children and the future. Children are the future, and we need to start helping them use those powerful imaginations and ideas by increasing the availability and access to art.
“May we all grasp the value of museums with such clarity, and lead young people to do the same. More museum visits by children will enhance their academic development, improve their education now and in the future, and ensure a healthy, active tomorrow for our museums -- an invaluable treasure for all.”