Art Appreciation Part 1: Education
Art Heals the Scars of Bullying
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“I feel home, you know, it’s like the best way to put it,” Duluth East High School student Abigail Mitchell said.
It was in middle school during a time when she was bullied that Mithchell found her voice through art.
“It was hard for me to talk about my feelings with other people like my parents, my friends and so if I could just draw how I feel,” said Mithcell, “maybe write a poem or song it just really helped me get my feelings out.”
Jared Williams’ story echoes a similar sentiment.
“I’m someone who has had a fairly hard time, like socially,” said Williams.
Being bullied led to social anxiety.
An art class and teacher opened his eyes to his artistic abilities and true character.
“When I started finding more and more of my passion or my voice through my art it helped open up my real voice,” said Williams.
Inside Duluth East High School and other art classes around the country, students not only learn how to paint, sculpt, photograph but also go deeper inside themselves.
“It’s a lot about finding out who they are and hopefully that will help them determine how they’re going to be in society as they continue on,” said Duluth East High School visual arts teacher, Susan Ranfranz.
Ranfranz believes art caters to different learning abilities.
“There’s different ways to be smart and excel and for a lot of kids it’s that visual communication,” said Ranfranz.
The process of creation can teach scholars how to work through problems and failures inside and outside the classroom.
“Instead of just memorizing and reiterating things, they have to invent their own answers, their own responses,” said Ranfranz.
Recent studies show art in education has the potential to enrich experiences in core academic subjects, increase school attendance and help learners gain an aesthetic appreciation for the world.
“I think it teaches people to think more abstractly or think a little more outside the box,” said Williams.
While the art program at Duluth East is not on the chopping block, more than 20 percent of public high schools will have to cut their art education due to budget constraints.
“I think without that or without a creative outlet you’re just creating robots, that’s boring,” said Williams.
As of right now, both Mitchell and Williams desire art related careers.
They’re thankful to go to a school where exploring their creativity is available.
“It’s not just a hobby, it’s a job and it should be valued just as much as math, science and reading,” said Mitchell.
Tune in tomorrow night at 9 p.m. for part two of this series about people who make a living creating art.