Art classes can be structured in many different ways, so it’s important to know how and also why a studio structures their classes as they do when you’re looking to find the right place for your child.
Some studios might offer classes that last 4 or 8 or 12 weeks and then “graduate” students to the next level (like Painting I to Painting II), some studios might have classes geared around specific subjects like, “Animal Drawing”, or “Landscape Painting”, some might have one-time classes where you would sign up to learn how to create one specific work (like our Master Nights), or learn a specific technique or focus on a specific theme (like our Manga Nights).
The Philosophy: why we structure our classes like we do:
For us at Museo Art Academy, our art classes are structured around the concept of Process over Product.
If you’ve followed our blog much, you’ll know we talk about process over product ALL THE TIME, because we believe it’s suuuper important to children’s education, especially when it comes to art. (If you need a detailed refresher on what exactly process over product is, start here).
But to quickly summarize, process over product means we value HOW your child creates the product (what techniques they learn and utilize properly, whether they use creative problem solving, etc.) as opposed to valuing how the end product turns out (whether it’s “pretty” or looks exactly like the teacher’s version, or Monet’s version, etc.)
That means that in our art classes, we don't want our students to look at a teacher’s example and just try to re-create it, which could be simpler and take less time, but instead, we want to make sure that our students have the time necessary to learn each technique we discuss, to practice it, and to be able to understand WHY an artist would apply that particular technique.
Because we believe this provides the best and most well rounded education, our classes are structured over a longer time span, taking multiple weeks to complete a more complex project, as opposed to a short-term structure focused on producing a finished product after just one hour.
What does that look like, class to class?
To emphasize the process of each project, each class each week has a specific focus that builds towards the finished project.
For example, on week one and week two of a project, we focus on learning about a particular technique and practicing it in a one-day exercise. We then utilize that learning when creating a formal, final draft project.
All the while, we’re always encouraging students to try new things, and build on their successes, focus on the areas where they could improve and, most importantly, begin to develop their own unique style.
By using this project-based class structure, students have an opportunity to better understand the concepts they’re learning and why.
Emphasis on Personal Growth:
With a long-term approach to our classes, personal growth is also a huge focus in our teaching.
While spending a longer time focusing on the process of one medium, students get a chance to really practice their skills and develop their techniques.
Why? Because once students have learned about the concept of “perspective” in drawing class, for example, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can check that concept off as understood and move on to the next thing.
It means the concept of perspective can be and must be applied in an unlimited amount of new ways in whatever is being drawn and so practice and discussion and problem solving and new understanding must be happening each time that technique is used.
These skills and techniques don’t only apply within a single art form! One of the great things about the visual arts is that every aspect of art can help build skills in other areas.
In our General Art classes, we might have a drawing focus project one month, and a painting project the next. However, once we finish the drawing project, we don’t leave our newly acquired skills behind. We continue discussing drawing as we move into a painting project, and specifically cover how our drawing skills can be useful in planning out our painting. This works for all visual art forms, as the application of each helps develop a student’s understanding of the elements and principles of art.
Our classes are structured as long-term, on-going weekly classes so that our students can learn and practice skills and techniques and then be able to apply them to the project at hand.
Our classes are not structured to simply turn out a beautiful copy of the teacher’s example. They ARE structured to turn out artwork that your child has put their own effort into learning and applying real art techniques and skills to in the best way that they can.
Learn more about our art classes here, or just jump into searching for the one your child is interested in here.
We’ve written before about the many, yes, many, benefits that come from participating in arts education, but as we’re approaching this new, exciting school year, and as we're being inundated with Back to School everything at Target, we’re inspired to talk about just a few of the specific ways participation in arts education affects and IMPROVES school participation, achievement, and life-long learning behavior.
Higher SAT Scores
Yes, you heard that right, not just any test, but THE test that can determine which college your child gets into and what scholarships they get can be improved through arts participation.
Though there have been claims about and independent studies on the correlation between those in arts programs and high SAT scores for over 30 years, one study that sought out to test the claimed correlation found that it was an accurate claim and that “Those who take four years of arts courses have higher scores than those who take less than four years’ worth.” The more art, the higher the scores. This study determined that “Those who study the arts are consistently higher academic achievers than those who do not study the arts.”
Specifically, Higher Scores in Verbal and… (take a guess now…) Math!
Art can have a major affect even on the seemingly most-unlikely subjects. With students who took four years of art classes, they out-preformed those who took only 1 ½ years or less of art by a significant 38 points on the math portion of the SAT and a whole 58 points on the verbal portion.
Higher Critical Thinking Abilities
Named one of the 21st Century’s most prized skill and a high-determining factor for success in both higher education and the workforce, critical thinking is the ability to use logic and reasoning in problem solving.
Art education teaches students to look at the world more closely, to observe, to hold off judgments, to examine and analyze the details, to draw connections, and to question what they see; it “develops skills for comparing, hypothesizing, critiquing and exploring multiple view points” - all parts of thinking critically that then help students use these observational and analytical skills in other areas on their lives and subjects in school.
Art education and the skills students learn and develop while in art classes lead them on to success, not only in their favorite painting or clay class, but in multiple school subjects, on important skills-assessment tests, and into higher education and the competitive workforce.
What they do today creates the foundation of tomorrow, for them personally, but also for the world we live in.
If your child is interested in expanding his or her horizons and broadening their skill sets, read more about our art classes here or take the plunge and jump into finding the best one for your child here. Don't forget we're available by phone or email for ANY questions you may have over our programs.
Sharing our love of art education, one post at a time.