What makes the art curriculum so special?
Art is a visual language. It is the only subject that is totally visually creative; no words are necessary. Scholars learn to communicate in many ways apart from written and spoken language and they discover themselves emotionally as well as academically. It is an opportunity for less well-represented communities to have a louder voice.
Beyond the experience of exhibiting and entering competitions, an art education empowers scholars in careers across the board by developing their critical thinking, independence and problem solving. It is also a gateway to a career in the creative sector, which is the third biggest employment sector in the UK.
Art helps us to understand the visual world whilst developing our whole selves. Scholars step out of their experience bubbles and are given the opportunity to think of themselves and others critically. Then they can react playfully, emotionally and experimentally. Scholars get to experience actual colours and physical media in a world that is overwhelmed with screen-based activities. They have within their grasp everything from moulding clay to seeing how colours mix to learning how a camera works. Art champions failure as it is a key part of a successful creative.
Art history introduces scholars to a diverse range of artists and movements which have shaped today’s world. Every culture throughout time has embraced art as a means of communication. Art shows scholars their place in the world and within culture, religion, identity and history. It is a driver for social change and mobility.
How is the art curriculum enacted in a way that honours its beauty, richness and distinctiveness?
The art curriculum encourages scholars to work independently, building confidence to experiment with a wide variety of media and developing their skills and techniques. Scholars are taught how to visually analyse and are encouraged to engage with artists and artworks from history to modern day and appreciate the beauty in the world outside their own experience. It is a rich, visually aesthetic subject that is beautiful because scholars respond in their own individual ways.
How does the art curriculum equip scholars with knowledge that provides them with new ways of thinking about the world, taking them beyond their own original experiences?
By studying artists and artworks from a range of cultures and backgrounds, our scholars develop a wider and deeper appreciation of society. By learning the narratives of artists, they can begin to ‘step in their shoes’ and empathise on life choices and reasons for artists to visually communicate their lives and passions.
There are no right or wrong answers in art. The art teacher digs deep and questions scholars’ thinking to encourage them to see from different viewpoints. Art teachers lead scholars to understand that the world is a big place full of lots of types of people and opinions. This equips them to create artworks that are passionate and engage with their own experiences and those of others too.
How does the art curriculum reflect intelligent interdisciplinarity to allow scholars to explore meaningful connections?
There are constant deep connections in which art links all areas together. We explore where artists lived in the world and how their culture shaped them, how the art movements were influenced by music movements of their time, and the impact on world history.
Art lets all the other subjects breathe as it links all subjects culturally. Other subjects look outwards for inspiration. In art, we look inwards towards our thoughts and hearts and we respond emotionally to the world. This makes connections meaningful and personal. By studying artists’ techniques and what led the artists on their individual journeys, scholars are equipped to respond in kind with their own education and experiences.
Miss H McAusland