Why arts are so important for young people?
Sarah Beirne, Children & Youth Arts Officer, Draíocht
This is the third year Draíocht has run this Art Explorers Summer Workshop Series with artist and facilitator Genevieve Harden, together with Sarah Beirne, Children & Youth Arts Officer with Draíocht.
Draíocht has a commitment to working with children and young people and opening up opportunities of high quality arts experiences such as these. This commitment is based on a belief that all people are entitled to experience high quality and varied arts experiences and so all children are entitled to creative and cultural opportunities.
Genevieve has years of experience working in community arts and has been involved in various workshops with young people with Draíocht for the last 10 years. She is a regular arts facilitator at our free Saturday Family Days that run throughout the school year. This summer the Art Explorer’s Workshops (4-8 July 2011) will concentrate on works of famous artists. We'll paint a bit like Van Gogh and sculpt a bit like Sir Henry Moore. We'll give the young participants a chance to explore a range of materials and be introduced to some of the great art works from different times and different places.
Arts experiences for young people and children are important as the arts can be a safe place to explore their imagination, to express themselves and to find new ways of communicating and socializing. Participating in high quality arts from a young age has the ability to strengthen problem solving skills and critical thinking skills, as well as giving young people the chance to meet and negotiate with new friends. During these workshops, for example, participates will work together on projects, so learning to collaborate and develop crucial skills in cooperation, decision-making, leadership, communication and problem solving while working with others. In such workshops the imagination can run where it wishes giving a chance for participants to develop cognitive and creative skills. For some participants they will discover a life long love of art and arts participation that can enrich life. For some it can even become their main motivation for going to school or later a career in the creative arts or simply a social and enjoyable outlet. The arts have the ability to teach young people to be more tolerant and open through multicultural and historical perspectives, for example by exploring artists from different times and places.
During visual arts workshops such as Art Explorers in Draíocht, children will create works through the materials at hand, things that are important and relevant to them. The arts give the opportunity to actually participate in the world - you don't just watch someone else doing - you are doing.
Involving and engaging young people and children in the arts is an opportunity to ask them about what they think, rather then telling them what they should think. Mostly art has the ability to provide a fun experience. It gives the opportunity to celebrate work, have a chat - get a bit messy and to take pride in a job well done.
“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.” (taken from Pablo Picasso Quotes, Spanish Artist & Painter 1881-1973).
More info on Art Explorers Summer Projects at Draiocht ...