What goals are likely to promote inquiry in art as a child? Art makes sense to children when they experience it as a basic form of expression and as a response to life. The two modes of experience-expression and response-are interdependent. Both are essential in the goals for personal fulfillment, for studies of the artistic heritage and for studies of the social aspects of art.
In order to find personal fulfillment through art, children need to learn how their lives can be enriched by their own efforts to create art and respond to visual forms.
Children enjoy manipulating art materials and even without guidance they may produce works that have expressive meaning. The activity and chance successes are poor measures of learning. If, as the saying goes, "one picture is worth a thousand words," one truly creative experience in art is worth a thousand aimless experiments with art media. We may experience pride and inner strength that come from shaping forms that express something about ourselves, genuine self-expression is not easy.
Art has the potential for making feelings and ideas vivid; but to function expressively, an art form must be created so that it captures the precise feeling and imagery of our experience. Only then can art give substance to feelings that might otherwise remain undefinded, unclear, and unexplored. Few children are such natural artists that they can easily express themselves without a supportive environment. In order to achieve personal fulfillment through creating art, children need sensitive adult guidance in mastering the following pivotal moves in the artistic process: the creation of ideas for personal expression, the discovery of visual qualities to express ideas and feelings, and the use of media to convey an expressive intent.
In daily life, we ''look at'' much more than we truly ''see,'' "feel," and "experience." If we are sensitive to our aesthetic responses we realize that we are "moved" by something because our senses are fully activated. At such moments of realization, we experience a kind of insight so uncommon and so exact that we are in awe of our own powers of perception.
Art deals with human feelings, beliefs, and conduct. Studies in art-like those in the humanities-are loaded with implications about the ideal life and the values people hold. If we treat art as if it were only a matter of learning facts and mastering techniques, we deny its value-laden character. In the public schools of this country, subjects that center on human values are taught in a comparative manner. As teachers, we should clearly emphasize that art can also be understood and experienced in different ways
Learn to generate ideas for expression through art. Art does involve a struggle to find ideas and that varied sources in their experience can be tapped for inspiration. Children can learn to generate ideas by careful observation of their natural and constructed environment. Subjects are abundant-people, places, inanimate objects, plants, animals, weather, the seasons, and special events. Imagination is the ability to form images in the mind, especially of things, that are not ''real'' in ordinary life. Fantastic, futuristic, weird, mysterious, and dreamlike events can be a source of inspiration for art. Contemplating themes can serve as a source of motivation for art. Children can learn to express their personal feelings about such concepts as love, peace, and beauty as well as hate, war, and ugliness.Inventing the necessity. Ideas can come from problems and needs to everyday life, such as wanting to make a present for someone special.