The Art of Fitness

Many individuals say that fitness is both an art and a science. Many believe the science aspect because there is a connection between the power and stamina that one puts forward to perform fitness activities. There is an actual scientific basis for how fitness relates to the aging process, the brain and body connection, and the quality of life that a person has. But what about art? How can art and fitness be related in any manner? Here we will delve into how fitness can be considered an art and what the connections are between them.


What is Art

Art is a human expression or creation that generally takes a visual form. This may be a painting or a sculpture. Art typically is appreciated by many for not only the beauty that it brings to others, but also for the emotional power that it can possess. Technical, as well as imaginative skills, are used when an artist creates this form of art.

Artwork can be a form of communication and entertainment. For some, art can be used as a means of raising awareness to different causes, such as autism, childhood cancer, or the environment. Others use it for propaganda. Many have used it as a means of healing.

There are various forms of art, such as literature, paintings,calligraphy, opera, music, dance, films, movies, and photography. Architecture can even be considered art.

No matter the form used, it is typically pleasing to the senses. Our eyes may like the bright colors used or how there is a contrast to a painting. Our sense of touch may revel in the texture of a painting. Perhaps a certain beat in a particular piece of music makes us happy. A drawing could be abstract, giving us free reign in deciding how to feel about the piece.


Principles and Elements of Art

There are various principles to art. These include the following:
● Movement- A principle used to create a feeling action.
● Variety- Diversity within the art. In fitness, an example of this could be spinning classes listening to rock and roll music while a yoga or pilates class may use soothing music.
● Harmony- Portions of the art are similar to each other. These parts are combined to form a sense of togetherness. In fitness, this could be a group of dancers performing the same dance, each with their own style.
● Contrast- The principle used to combine various elements, but still be able to showcase the differences between the two. In fitness, this could be combining two different workouts, such as aerobics and lifting weights.
● Balance- If a piece of art is well balanced, it means one will feel comfortable looking at it or performing it.
● Pattern- An element that is often repeated in art. In movement, this could be doing the same dance move during the chorus.
● Proportion- The relationship that different elements have not only with each other but also together.
● Unity- This principle gives a feeling that separate parts are working together to create “oneness”. Many artists will use simplicity, proximity, and repetition in order to create unity.


The elements of art include:

● Shape- An element that is two dimensional that is able to be defined in some way.
● Line- This element is used to describe edges and also control a person’s view.
● Value- This is defined as lightness and darkness of colors or tones.
● Color- An element that affects how we feel about a piece of art. An example of this may be seeing a dance where the performers are dressed all in black versus the same dance where everyone is wearing bright colors.
● Form- An element that is a 3-D shape.
● Space- The positive and negative areas that add depth to a piece of artwork.
● Texture- How the artwork feels or looks like it could feel if touched.


The Connection Between Art and Movement

Movement can be a form of art, especially when you consider the many different forms of movement. Dance of all kinds is a form of art that expresses a form of non-verbal communication. Ballet is majestic and gorgeous to watch. This dancing artform is graceful to watch, with fluid movements. Ballroom dancing is elegant and skillful while hip hop is energetic and allows a person to fully express themselves. Riverdance is astonishing to watch as it involves lots of foot movement that is fast-paced.

Tap dancing can easily be attributed to being a form of art for a few reasons. A tap dancer is essentially making music while they are dancing. Each time they hit the floor with their shoes, a sound is produced to form a pattern while the performer is dancing. It can be mesmerizing to watch the feet while concentrating on the sounds. And if you watch the upper body, the dancer is often using it to keep the entire dance well blended together.

Dancing is not the only kind of movement that can be considered as art. Take into consideration yoga. Yoga allows the mind, body, and soul to all be connected. The movement of the body during a yoga session can be graceful and beautiful. It can be visually appealing to watch someone do yoga while also mimicking the moves for themselves. The body can be used as a form of expression, just as an artist would use their canvas as a way to express what they are thinking or feeling at the time. Yoga can also be inspiring to others, just the same as various artforms are inspiring.


The Art of Fitness Training

Fitness trainers have been trained in various forms of science such as biology, anatomy, kinesiology, and more. It is essential for any fitness trainer to know about how each part of the body works. However, these trainers have an art because they understand when they need to apply scientific facts. When bodybuilding, and especially if you are going through strict and precise routines such as cutting or bulking, understanding the science behind the training programs and behind each step you need to take, understanding that is an important factor.

Personal trainers also understand that fitness and art go hand in hand. They know that exercise will impact how creative a person can be, and vice versa.


How Art is Used by the Fitness World

Art is something that is being adapted by the fitness world to make the experience of working out and getting healthier a more mesmerizing experience. One way many fitness centers and gyms are doing this is by adding artwork to the studios. You may see murals on the walls throughout the gym, not only in the locker rooms but also in the workout areas. Photography can also be displayed throughout the gym, such as photos of existing members using various gym equipment or of them exercising in a class.

The music that is being played during your spinning class can be considered art as well. And let us not forget about some of the classes that may be offered by your gym too that come from various art forms such as Zumba for example. This could be martial arts inspired workouts, utilizing moves from karate, boxing, Kung Fu, TaeKwonDo, Muay Thai, and Capoeira.


In Conclusion

As you can see, there are many ways that fitness can be viewed as an art. Various forms of exercise can be constituted as art, such as martial arts workouts like boxing or Kung Fu, or dancing, such as Jazz, Hip hop, or ballet.

Many of the art elements and principles are used in fitness as well. Patterns are used for many aspects of fitness, as is variety and harmony.
Fitness is a work of art for many reasons. Many find it appealing to watch. More find it exhilarating to do. Fitness is movement and movement is a form of art.

When The Teacher Is The Student

Learning how to teach can bring about a realization that the teacher has to be able to learn as well. Knowing that you yourself are a student allows for you to understand your students even better. You’ve got to fully understand your student or you’ll either plod along with little success, or you’ll end up at a dead end.

What used to work in the old days just isn’t going to cut it in this new century. It doesn’t mean that the fundamentals of education won’t work, they will, but today’s student has resources I didn’t have as a kid, but then today’s students have resources like smartphones and the internet that people from years ago didn’t have.


Research Shows

There have been studies regarding education of today and the role that an educator has to or should adopt. One of the main things is that today’s kids have the full knowledge of all mankind in the palm of their hand. They can, in an instant, find out the basic information regarding any subject. This also comes with a whole new series of slang and lexicons that today’s educator needs to know.

Add to all that the ever shifting social patterns, it can seem to be more than one can chews. We need to not make the young people adverse to presenting the information they themselves can gather and make them feel validated that they’ve taken up the initiative to research on their own. This teaches them that they have value in being students, like junior detectives or scientists who know how to track down a solution or an answer without fear of being ridiculed when incorrect.

Sometimes just giving a general idea to a student to study and investigate is enough for them to arrive at a plethora of interesting and valuable info that the educator can examine and process so that the student can comprehend full and meet the criteria of the classroom.

One of our pluses as a species is that we investigate and change our environments to enhance that investigative behavior. All animals investigate, but not like us. We enjoy searching and discovering and that’s what we have to do with our students. We have to show them the benefits of research and that they can make the big decisions on their own.

They’ll stumble around here and there, but at least they’ll know it’s up to them to pick themselves up and get right back into things. Once a student sees the reward for doing things on their own, they won’t hesitate to do so in life which means a better chance of survival.


Give Students A Long Term Goal

One thing that follows this train of educational thought is to give students a long term goal. Let them choose a topic they want to follow. Let them go at it. Let them pick something that they displaying as a talent or interest and see how well they do. Look at how they research and guide them along. Measure their skills of investigation, and applying what they’ve discovered. Some institutions have procedures that are detailed that focus on the skills students need to not only enter the present workforce, but to succeed at it. Since today we’re full of technical concepts, inventions, and ideas, the average student needs to know these and how they meld into the structure of the office. Not only social skills but a full understanding of the fundamentals of their chosen profession, but also in the technologies and techniques, and conduct a successful professional must have.

If you want to see examples of this, there are plenty. Now we have video of when in the past people had to change jobs or lost jobs due to technological advances. It was total chaos at times. People would actually starve because they couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to new ways of doing things. Matter of fact the word ‘sabotage’ comes from a time when in Indonesia, workers were threatened by the new automatic weaving looms of the day and they would take their shoes called ‘sabo’ and toss them into the machinery to disable it.


The New Classroom Model

What’s happening here is that we’re looking at the new model of classroom education. It’s a bit more complex as the old school way, but that’s the importance of what I’m talking about here. You can’t expect an education system that used to focus on people who would only enter manufacturing and agriculture and menial labor to match up with today’s need for highly technically trained people who won’t shy away from new materials and methods. Every aspect of our lives calls for some level of technical know how and the ability to not only adapt to these technologies but to master them. Seeing how essential it is for the average person to know computing just to get by, as newer technologies emerge, the purpose of the the employee of the 21st Century will something like being on those “Star Trek” television shows.


Final word

That being all said, today’s students need to be able to master, on the fly, the new advances in technology and the new lexicons that come along with them. It can be overwhelming at times, but kids are being trained while playing video games, especially the ones that emphasize success on their courage, adaptability, innovative solutions, and resourcefulness.

Each game has its own world, tools, techniques, and tactics. These games then prepare the student for the ever changing face of today’s workplace. It’s similar to the 1800s and 1900s where new machines would replace workers who couldn’t adapt. Some dreaded change and for good reason, however today it’s a matter of intelligence in using technology to do a job. Such a thing calls for a continued workplace education thus the importance of a solid education that encourages students to enjoy study without fear.

7 ways arts in education benefit kids to no-end

If we were to turn back the clock, it would be fair to say that arts in education were one of the most prominent elements of the curriculum. Whether it was drama, art or music – it was all there, and the kids loved it.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen a steady decline of these subjects. They are slowly being abolished through curriculums around the country and today’s post is to take a look at some of the reasons this is hurting the people of tomorrow.

Let’s now take a look at how arts in education can help children develop so much.


Reason #1 – The confidence factor

There’s a lot of importance placed on confidence in children nowadays, and it’s for very good reason. This in itself makes it surprising that arts are being slowly removed from the curriculum.

When it comes to drama and music, these are activities that can throw most kids completely out of their comfort zone. As we all know, being out of your comfort zone is something that breeds immediate confidence. As you start to see that you can get up on stage, or can play that instrument in front of countless people, you develop as a person and your confidence simply multiplies.


Reason #2 – Visual learning

Studies have found that children need more than text and numbers to learn efficiently. Visual learning has proved to be one of the best ways to achieve this and naturally, drawing, painting and general creative tasks aid this learning approach in abundance.

The difference with this type of learning is that kids have to interpret it. They have to make choices based on the visual information which is placed in front of them – and this is why it benefits them in a completely different way than the traditional method of teaching.


Reason #3 – Working as a team

It’s a well-known fact that working as a team and collaborating are highly desirable skills (and this doesn’t just apply to kids).

Arts education is something that pushes these skills more than other subjects. When it comes to a drama performance, kids rarely work alone – they work as part of a group. It’s something that teaches them that they need to rely on others to achieve overall success – they can’t just rely on themselves.


Reason #4 – They become accountable

This point relates to the previous one we have just looked at. When kids are part of a team, particularly in something in which their actions are under the spotlight, accountability quickly comes into the picture. They start to understand that their actions impact the whole project; their successes will be there for all to see, but at the same time anything that they don’t do so well will also be focused on. The latter is particularly important, as kids nowadays don’t always get the chance to learn about mistakes and how important they are for development.


Reason #5 – It all benefits academic performance

This next reason will raise a few eyebrows, but studies have shown that arts can impact academic performance as well. A study found that those children who participate in arts for three hours a day, three days a week, are as much as four times more likely to succeed academically. This is most likely due to all of the other reasons we have documented through this guide.


Reason #6 – Decision making is improved

At times, standard education can become quite black and white. Kids follow a text book, or instructions, and there is little room to maneuver. This is where the arts differ. They are something that there is, strictly speaking at least, no right or wrong answer. They need to critically think about situations. For example, they might ask themselves how to play a character, or express an emotion through their dancing.


Reason #7 – The impact on motor skills

Finally, the impact the arts have on motor skills should also not be underestimated. A task such as holding a paintbrush might feel remarkably simple to a child, but it’s something which can work to develop their motor skills.

Teaching Students To Be Proactive In Art

It’s no surprise that people around the world appreciate art. The same goes double when in regard to students and teachers. Creating art and nurturing the young to do so responsibly is a remarkable way to get students to become advocates, to be proactive in the arts.

This calls for some creative thinking on the part of students, teachers, school administrators and parents. Together, they can make the child’s artistic endeavors pay off in bringing about more appreciation for the arts and what they can achieve. There are a number of ways of getting to this goal and we’ll need to look at just a few to get your own projects off the ground.

Today, kids are part of the internet. They can’t live without it. They’ve got the full known body of humanity’s knowledge in the palm of their hand. With social media now the king of content online, utilizing this venue can bring about astonishing results.

Teachers and parents should engage with the students and take pics and videos and post them online. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, feature easy to use menus for posting art images. This allows for the public not only to view the art, but to become active participants in the child’s experience. People who like the art will share, like, and comment allowing for the dissemination of the art and whatever message the art is attempting to convey.

Here’s where being proactive comes into play. The students should use art to send a message about an area of interest that can be just about anything. Somwhere there will be people of like interst who will appreciate the art and there’s a good chance that the most entertaining works will go viral.

When this happens, the website traffic to the schooo’s website will benefit. Let each child pick their cause whether it’s pet rescue or celebrating a local historic holiday. People searching for such subject matter may run into the students’ work and then the fun begins. As the kids see the effect their work makes, they’ll realize that there is a great responsibility with art, as it can change entire mindsets or bring the world to the attention of a worthy cause. They’ll make valuable contacts that can furthr their education an dprepare them for the workforce.



Start A Museum

Another great idea is to start a museum. Teachers and administrators can create a museum that spotlights the students’ works. Well framed and presented in key spots around the school, this will allow for the other students and faculty, as well as proud parents, to see what the kids are doing and help with encouraging commentary and support. The museum can be mobile.

Talk to local business like banks and great bistros to see if they’ll allow an exhibition. Thsi will really get the word out. Students may find new friends and sponsors or even mentors if top artists themselves frequent the location. A great way for enjoying photo ops too. Ask your local government and see if you can put works from your museum in the post office or city hall. It will make the civic leaders look magnanimous and foster greater amity between the public and officials.

One can easily raise money for this idea. Either parents and teachers can chip in, or local business. Art stores in particular. There may even be tax incentives for such an endeavor, and that will sweeten things fo rbusinesses who’ll then see participating as a return on investment like no other.


Online Venues For Artists

There are tons of websites dedicated to showcasing art. Most are free and allow for artists to network with potential clients and other artists and teachers. A schoool with a fine arrt program might find that others will be interested in their programs and teaching methods.

Teachers can network and even make deals that benefit one and all. A website called Artsonia is a prime example of this new approach. The site will, with parental permission, display a student’s work. Studentss will find an active worldwide audience and a networking bonanza. To make things even more interesting,

Artsonia has an online store that allows for the public to buy merchandise with the student’s artwork on it. A way to make money and disseminate young people’s art. If that isn’t enough to whet your whistle, teachers who submit the art can get 15% of sales! It’s a great way to generate capital for art supplies, holding events, and more.

Artsonia isn’t the only site like this, and more are emerging every year. People who invest in the students’ art pursuits can also make money which is an incentive right there. It’s great because in most cases their investment is tax dedcutible. So you can’t really lose following this route.


Murals Rule

If there’s one thing a youngster loves, it’s drawing on the wall. As soon as they’re able to hold a pencil or a crayon, they’ll make a bee line to the nearest uncovered wall and start going like Michelangelo. Murals brighten up any area and inside the school is a good place to start. It would be a team project and everyone can pitch in regarding ideas.

Once again, raising money for this shouldn’t be difficult and the children will learn management and concept and design, and more. Again, pics and videos of the murals, especially their construction makes for great content for web dissemination. A school’s AV department can benefit big time from this and turns the endeavor into a community effort that brings excitement and joy for all. Also, students will learn why it’s important to add messages that project good will about any number of good causes.
Final Word

As students mature with their art and projects under good teacher guidance, they will automatically become more reliable and responsible. They won’t sit on the sidelines when the community, country, or world needs a voice to stick up for it. In the end you’ll have better students, teachers, parents, and allies.

New Ways Of Developing Opportunities To Make Students Grow

Showing great resolve, R. Darden Bradshaw actually partnered her art department of her school with several organizations within her community that also included those of industry and business.

Not only that but she brought in the mayor’s office during this period to bring about new opportunities that put the spotlight on the art programs that showcases the efforts of students and teachers. It’s been important to her so see this kind of focus on this kind of relationship and the support of the organizations boosts this.

One successful application of this mindset is in the “Mayor’s 10” event where students were allowed to participate with their own personal expressions of the various cultures of Louisiana. The students’ works depicted the life and environment of the region featuring artwork of local flora and fauna such as alligators, egrets, shrimp boats, and all that makes that region unique. The art was displayed on stage as the students and their parents and teachers all took part in being validated for the effort and presentation. So successful this has been that it has gone on for 6 years and the mayor has promised to keep it going on.



Engaging The Community

Another successful action was during a local nonprofit arts organizations event. It called for people of the community to glaze a ceramic bisque bowl for a small amount for the organization to raise money for the training of dogs for needy veterans and autistic children.

Both were suffering from PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It comprised of students that ranged from elementary to high school, and included sports celebrities and leaders of the local community as well as neighboring cities. The event was a day-long one and a joy to all. In the end it raised thousands of dollars as well as brought about a new awareness to the targeted support group of veterans and children.


Rinse And Repeat Successful Actions

Following the success of that venue, she participated in several more just like it that also included award ceremonies that featured local artists and students as well as their teachers.

This has been a stark contrast to the past when around 20 art teachers were in the community versus the 60 that exist today. It’s all due to the way the partnerships and strategies that were developed over the years and spread from one community to the next. This was all done to primarily focus the limelight on the art education programs in the city. Here’s a look at what they achieved and the way it’s been done.


Expand On The Formula

Creating Partnerships: Creating partnerships with local businesses, museums, galleries, and asked them to sponsor school district wide art exhibits. One can ask their own principal to become a sponsor or by rotating an art exhibit in the library, office, or even in the lobby of one’s school.

Exhibit: Use any area you can to show off a student’s artwork. Look for obvious places to display and look for unconventional areas too.

Enhance The City: One can have murals or sculptures or any kind of artwork put up for public display, not only in the school but the community as well.

Join Groups: Participate in local arts groups and other community organizations that contribute to the overall good of the community.

Make A Web Page: Nothing like making a webpage to showcase and inform people of what you’re doing and need.

Disseminate: Basically, spread the word with documentation. Fliers and posters should be sent to the media and important people and companies in the area.

The listed suggestions can be expanded upon as these efforts have been successfully employed and achieved.

Such approaches to bringing the community and the schools together with the arts is needed all over the country. There are several means by which this can be expanded and bring about further success.


The Rewards Of Responsibility

The key to all of this is the willingness of students, parents, teachers, and community leaders in administration and businesses to get together as a team and work for the betterment of one and all. It takes the ability and willingness to work together for mutual goals and not to let egos get in the way.

The benefits are a thousand-fold and it sows that all can participate without fear of ridicule or loss. The students learn that they can indulge in the arts and create works that not only brightens the environment around them, but also generate a general feeling of greater esteem for themselves and the community at large.

Given the power of social media nowadays, the works created and public venues can be captured on video and sent around the world garnering even greater attention and interest. For businesses this turns into a form of free advertisement as well as promotion and for those businesses and worthy causes that have websites, it means more website traffic that can lead to greater profits and donations.

It need not stop there. Contests and other competitions along with prizes, perhaps goods or services donated by businesses only sweetens the deal. Given time such events become local legends and allows for city planners to take advantage of the attendances and press. The local media benefits from the interesting content that boosts ratings as well as advertising rates. As a matter of fact, some media outlets might allow for extra coverage if the public so requests.


Final Word

There are a myriad number of ways for a school system to gain the high ground regarding the use of the arts by students and their teachers. It’s only limited by one’s imagination.

Rising To Art Competence

Here’s a tale or woe and growth. She wasn’t the best student in high school. She had a few medical problems and it left her foggy for a good amount of the time. Although she wanted to be an artist she never figured on having it turn into a career.

She couldn’t put two and two together regarding studying and applying what she learned, and there was just no consistency in her performance as a student. It wasn’t all doom and gloom as she did excel in playing sports at a very competitive level, that demonstrated she had the discipline and determination to be competitive, but it wasn’t consistent if she didn’t understand or care for a specific subject. This went on year after year but somehow she finally emerged triumphant enough to make it to college.

Don’t ask her how she did it, but she sure did get in the door. Well, as history has shown, she had to struggle in college too and succumbed to failure. She had to leave and it was just her and the world.



The Crucial Point

This is a crucial point in a person’s life, especially if you have a skill or talent that you’ve developed but don’t know what to do with it. If you’ve not studied correctly nor have someone around to guide you, you’ll be up against your own ignorance.

This can go on for some time if you don’t catch it before or just after it emerges. I was confused and it caused me to stumble here and there which leads to a pile up of disappointments and can inhibit a person from forging forward in all areas of life.

Things changed for her when neighbors saw some work she had done in the crafts. It was nothing to her, something she did years earlier. Her parents thought enough of it to showcase it in the house. The neighbors were enthralled at the potential the piece presented and then referred her to a professional in the field. Luckily there was a class in her area and she stopped by to see what the class entailed.

It sure was a good move because she then saw something that really piqued her interest and it was head on from there. The instructors showed her some literature about her art and it really spoke to her in a way she had never felt before. She then realized that there was a whole world she hadn’t understood until that moment and it really fired up her engines.

It showed her that every form of creativity had its own language and processes and procedures and that in order to be successful one needs to know those fundamentals or there’s no succeeding. Armed with this new knowledge it occurred to her that she could continue her formal education and went back to college. Right off the bat she could see her new found enthusiasm was going to pay off. She spent more time focusing on the basics and that opened the door to the higher concepts which college is designed to present.


It was a good idea and a major game changer for her.

Not only did she start to do better in her studies, but as a person it enlightened her to look at others and become curious and caring regarding their careers in the arts. She wouldn’t hesitate to get into discussions with others and ask them about their experiences.

Just listening to these people she found out that no two were alike but that there were certain common denominators. It takes both education and determination to have an art career. Talent is the first step but that talent follows interest. Then there’s the long hours of practice and experimentation. The history of the craft you’re in and crafts in general and what to expect if you decide to make it your career. Learning how to promote your work, manage your work, budgets and so on are all part of the picture as well.


The Long Hard Road

It’s been a long road and hard one, but no one said it would be easy and it isn’t. That’s part of life’s challenges and it will bring about a better you in the short and long term.

So you might wonder where you should start? Well, from her experience, one would say evaluate your education. Do you really know what you should know?

Do you have a full grasp of the fundamentals? Can you apply those fundamentals in a career setting? Do you practice enough or do you think you know it all? Arrogance has gotten no one anywhere and that goes double for a career. Look at what the top people in your field do and see where they went to school. Look at what they reference when speaking. If they focus on a particular technique or celebrity in the field or even equipment, learn about that subject. Look at how you can apply it and really seek to enjoy what you do.


Final Word

Don’t worry if it takes some time. Nothing happens overnight and haste makes waste. Don’t fret over past mistakes either. That was long ago and if you don’t realize that you’re still a good person even though you’ve been ignorant or made mistakes then you won’t progress. What you want is that you can see new opportunities and have no hesitation in pursuing a better route for your success.

Art And Meditation Go Hand In Hand

There is no doubt that god artwork can invoke a sense of well-being. Beautiful landscape paintings and works depicting serene locations can bring a person to a calm and serenity that only art can achieve.

Today’s students need to know that what they create can have such an effect and it’s a great responsibility.



The Process

In today’s anxiety ridden societies, the need for cool heads is a mainstay. People will use whatever they can to beat stress and meditation is a centuries old technique that is more popular today than ever. There are several ways to meditate 1 and just looking at art created to be of outstanding aesthetic value can achieve quite the same.

It calls for a skilled hand but just a few strokes from a brush can crate a sunset or wintry wonderland. All throughout the world people use art to create and sustain a meditative state and it’s like a form of symbiosis whereby to create e the art one must move into a state of meditation to create a work that can be used for meditation.

Careful planning and execution of the art medium the student chooses will bring about success and establish early on to the student that they definitely have what it takes to cause an effect with their art.


Keep A Close Eye

Teachers should keep a close eye on their students while they’re creating their works. Don’t crowd them in, but keep at a distance and observe how they behave while creating. Next is to show the student what it is like when the public sees their work. What kind of state of mind does the work bring about?

In this case we’re looking for people who observe the work and go into a state of calm and serenity and their minds open up and the day’s troubles disappear. Once they’ve seen that they can get a person to react positively, it’s time to have them review their work, their mindset while developing it and what to do afterwards when an observer of the painting engages it.

Here is where the student will start to see how adjusting this or that or choosing this color or that color can cause an effect in a positive direction.

It means that they are in control and they are responsible for what happens. If the relish the result of sending people into a state of higher consciousness, then it’s good for everyone around. The student mus never be encouraged to be overly cautious. It builds up reserved behavior and they won’t express themselves fully. Certainly they’ll be rough around the edges but that is par for the course.

Let them experiment. Show them art from around the world that elicit responses akin to a fine meditative state. They’ll see the value and you’ll have a young person on their way to making big impacts with their art from now on.


Meditation Is Not Weird

In some cases the topic of meditation will be taboo with certain students. It’s due to ignorance and cultural issues. Americans used to think meditation classes were only for the hippies of the 1960s and those people in the far east who sat on mountaintops with their legs folded under them in the famous lotus position. Surprisingly it was the 1960s that ushered in the now worldwide billion dollar meditation industry.

It’s rife with books, videos, merchandise, equipment and of course certified professionals. The stress 2 of war and general survival brought specialists in health care to reconsider meditation and they’ll use whatever it takes to get those patients up and running and artwork is a major part of it.


Meditation Art Field Trip

Here’s a way for the students to see the value of their art in a meditative way. There are a number of veterans health care facilities and prisons as well as mental institutions. Have them participate in a show where they create serene images and have them displayed at one of these locations. Watch as others stop by to gander and record their reactions.

Many will just ‘ooh and ahh’ and that’s not bad. Others will find and appreciate the effort put into the work to bring about a sense of good nature and calm. A student seeing this will know from hen on that they have a power that must be wielded responsibly.


The Adult Coloring Book Craze

T further emphasize the marriage of art and meditation, today’s latest craze are adult coloring books. These books are designed to be farm ore intricate than your run of the mill coloring book.

During their development as an industry, some found out that people loved what are called mandalas. These mandalas are of intricate design, circular, and with geometric shapes inside like a kaleidoscope would have. It takes hours an d hours to color one of these and they’ve been so successful in chilling people out that many doctors and hospitals prescribe these books to patients and the early studies show they’re of some medical good.

They get the person to focus their attention on one thing, not to be scatterbrained and to display the patience and creativity only a serene state of mind can bring.


Other Venues

Paintings and drawings aren’t the only art that can hook up with meditation. Any craft can do it, especially weaving, crochet, braiding hair or hair styling, sculpture and even putting decorative rhinestones on old jeans works.


The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that the arts are more than just painting by the numbers. Their effects span the spectrum of emotions and states of mind. It’s a power that young people need to know can do great good or great harm if not used with a sense of responsibility and integrity.

Student Art Grants By The Numbers

Soliciting for grants is a tough job but not when you’ve got the advantages we’ll talk about there. It’s as if writing grants is a science and art all rolled into one and if you don’t know the lingo of grant writing you’ll be paddling upstream the whole time.

You’ll find from the start that there are qualifications for each grant and it’s how you word things that will increase your chances of success. Here you’ll see an example of when an application to the California Department of Education Secondary Specialized Program Grant. Going through this process was the game changer, and brought about the Art Studio@PV Program

The grant money didn’t last long so they had to figure out other ways to raise capital. We went to another crowdfunding site but it didn’t cater to what their niche was so they had to negotiate and get approval to use their resources. After some negotiations were able to get in and things went well. It became successful enough for us to rely on that venue for further support. Believe you me, you do not want to burn your bridges behind you by messing up after receiving a grant nor do you want to get caught up in a situation where a grant’s bounty has run out and you’re left short.



Upward And Onward

Ever upward and onward, I had to focus on my local college that helped with developing pro level talent. The grants offered here allowed me to work with other members of academia and it was a rewarding experience across the board. It also was an experience where I learned more alternatives and techniques and tactics that furthered my agenda. This then brought me to the attention of the NAEA National Conventions. Talk about a rewarding experience!

Now I’ve been able to get a California Teachers association Institute for Teaching Grant that targets on what is referred to as “Strength Based Teaching”. It took a while for me to get a handle on just what that is, but after a while I took to it like a duck to water.


Moving On

Here we’ll take a look at what our grant is about for this year.


The purpose of our grant this year is to get students and classmates to engineer and sell a workable and salable as well as scalable business idea or ideas. The participants will get a look into the minds of real and successful entreprendurs. The participants will get the chance to show off their ideas to these professionals to the advisory board known as “Entre Board”, which consists of a group of professional entrepreneurs who’ll review and advise before the participants take their products and services to the real world where they’ll sell them.

The priorities are that the works and services be creative, be efficient for marketing, shows their ability to problem solve, and network with the community. This will all occur under the guidance and advice of administrators who will be making sure the participant’s efforts will lead to success in the business world.


It Worked

This entire experience so far was new. Had a lot of studying and application to do and that opened eyes to the responsibilities and potential. There were a number of people sending in crafts to market and after following the guidelines people learned, and the participants then got together to create and work on their own products.

Not only that but the participants then got to study on other ways of branching out and expanding. This was a real booster for all as it had found we can all contribute to both study and application regarding development of new products or revamping old products and not only getting them to market, but also in the various skills needed to promote and sell.

Another good idea is what’s called an “Art Booster” group. It’s a form of granting that dishes out mini sized grants for each semester. The money dished out is just a few hundred dollars, but it sure comes in handy. With this kind of grant you can support your community with a variety of targeted projects that not only benefit yourself but the community at large.


Looking Back

These approaches may or may not be available in your area, but it’s not a bad idea to look to see what’s offered. Creative development of grants, using the grants properly and responsibly are of great value to one and all. The old saying, “Every little bit helps.” sure is an axiom here. Sure you’ve got to tow the line and be disciplined enough to meet the criteria and follow through with responsible conduct, but in the short and long term, you and everyone else benefits highly.

Grants are a great responsibility. The people who invest and distribute such grants wants more than you to see you become successful. It’s a form of validation to them that their concern and efforts and resources are going to a good cause and not being abused by criminals. When one uses a grant for good, at the end of the day, all people benefit and it encourages others to pitch in, in both developing and administering grants. Overall, this has been a rewarding experience for us and can be for you too.



Remember, you’re looking at three things here, learning how to get a grant, applying for the grant, and using it properly so that others can benefit from the granter’s generosity. You don’t want to ruin things for others so being responsible, across the board is what it is all about.

Teaching Students To Derive Meaning From Art

One of the most valuable things a student should learn regarding artwork is that their opinion is valuable, especially if it hasn’t been clouded by other people’s opinions.

Being able to look a ta piece of art and analyze it for context and then become enlightened to the artist’s message will enrich the students as well as others. As a teacher you’ll need to take the time to ask the students right off the bat, how they themselves feel about a painting.

Not what their parents, friends, or media says, but how they feel inside. This nurturing approach builds a student’s self confidence and self esteem, as well as educates them in the true value of art and that is that art well done conveys one or more messages of great value to the cultures of the world.



A Masterpiece’s Centuries Old Message

If there ever was a work of art that dug up all kinds of debate and controversy, it’s the famous painting by legendary artist, George Caleb Bingham. His “Fur Traders Descending The Missouri” has stirred up one debate after another since it was created in the mid 1800s.

The painting depicts a canoe on the river, a calm river, with several men in the canoe, their furs, and a strange animal at the bow of the boat. It’s that ‘mysterious black cat” that has brought this painting into the realms of controversy. The children see it and remark about the cat and it brings them to question its position in the painting, it’s use as a pet on a fur trapping excursion and to the trained eye, this dark creature seems to be balancing the boat in the most curious way.

A deeper examination into the painting shows that at the back of the boat, there are the men and their furs. Physics dictate that the boat’s rear should be deep in the water and the bow raised up. There is nothing in the front of the boat bu the cat.

No cat can weigh as much as two men and around 80lbs of furs and also equipment. That has had art experts puzzled for a long time. An ever diligent teacher named Joanne Kirkman decided to delve into the painting to solve this mystery and her students and the world are now better for it.

What many thought was a cat, was then referred to as an owl. The teacher figured this still didn’t answer the question and she read books that showcased the painting and artist and soon the mystery began to unravel.

She did the right thng first, asking her students their interpretations of the painting. They all chimed in thus bringing greater value to legend of the work. It was a book by legendary bird expert, John James Audubon entitled, “Quadrupeds of North America” that she got for a steal at $2 from the local library. She’d early discovered through her own research and contributions of the students, that the creature depicted wasn’t a pet cat but a black fox.


Rarity Still

Black foxes are rare 1 and highly prized for their pelts. The traders and Native Americans would trade just one black fox pelt for 40 or more pelts of other prized animals such as beavers. What was discovered is that fur trappers would use the urine of a fox to add to their traps as it acted like a lure.

So it wasn’t a major problem for the men depicted in the painting to have a fox with them. In addition, the teacher found out that in Native American cultures of the region, a black fox meant reconciliation. I’s because when one person wanted to make up with another, they would use a black fox pelt to make amends because they were so highly valued. The research also discovered that the original name of the painting had been changed. It wasn’t politically correct so, “Fur Trader And His Half Breed Son” was changed. It’s in reference to the fact that many settlers mated up with Native American women but their children would be ostracized by both cultures.

This caused quite a problem then and Bingham may have added that fox in the painting with the calm water as a message saying the reconciliation of both cultures regarding their mixed offspring should be reconciled. That’s a deep message and cleverly designed.


Joy In Success

Teacher Joanne Kirkman and her students really hit pay-dirt this time. Their investigation into the meaning of this painting enlightened all around. It showed the students how art can be cleverly created with messages embedded with skill.

That a worthwhile cause was enshrouded in the painting so that it didn’t offend the public at the time and that only people who were in the know would get the painting’s meeting. As others like Ms. Kirkman and her students look into Bingham’s painting they share the responsibility of enlightening others which is what art is all about.

Showing Art Students The Value Of Problem Solving

Creating art isn’t the place to go if you have a problem solving problems. It seems to be a never ending process of attempting to bring something new into the world and not messing up and creating mud instead.

A teacher has to make sure the students see the value in being able to solve problems and there is help.



The Fundamentals

Young people are of course constantly learning the basics of survival and being part of a community. As they study and apply what they’re learning in art, they’ll run into one problem after another.

This has to be handled as soon as possible because problem solving 1 skills will be needed just to survive. With art, you’re working with materials and techniques that messy, somewhat dangerous, and expensive. For example, a student using charcoal will have to deal with the potential smudging that can easily happen if a shirtsleeve or clumsy hand brushes across the paper.

Here, students have to work with the medium and take their lumps along the way so it doesn’t happen again. With watercolor, there is no mercy. Which colors to use and how to keep from making a mistake are for starters. Watercolor is usually unforgiving if a mistake is made and only the best can do any kind of repair on a watercolor painting once it’s goofed up.

Students should be taught not to become angry 2 or exasperated, but instead take things calmly and see where what went wrong and try to remedy it and prevent such from happening in the future. Don’t even talk about oils. One has to be a junior chemist to master oils. The various brushes, oil pigments and chemicals can lead to disaster if one doesn’t keep one’s eyes open.

That all being said, there are other problems to solve they need to be prepared for. Setting up displays, learning how each of the humanities and sciences dovetail into art so that the final work is professional and has intrinsic value. As a student continues to solve one problem after another their confidence builds and new problems don’t seem so daunting.


Sources Of Problem Solving

Believe it or not, one awesome venue for teaching a student about problem solving is in video games. The well made games teach patience, conserving resources, picking the right tool, and more. The skills needed to complete the game teach the student which faults and pluses in their character that are needed to avoid or resolve problems.

One teacher, Diane Jaquith of the Burr Elementary School in Newton, MA points out several vital issues regarding students and problem solving. Actually she had a problem with introducing the term, “problem finding”. She realized the students might be confused so she took things one step at a time.

First engaging the students to discuss problems in general and what sort of problems they encountered doing art. This then led to her slowly introducing problem finding and soon the students were up to snuff. She added to her method and all went well.


Give The Students Problems

The teacher should present problems for the students to solve. The teacher should take careful eye to see how each student reacts. When faced with a problem do they immediately engage in grumpy or fearful behavior? If so you’ll need to nip it in the bud right there.

Emphasize that if one gives up emotionally then one gives up everything and no progress made. See if the student uses reference material to clear up any misunderstandings and also to see how their art can be applied with less hassle. From concept to execution, a work of art will present problems.

Questions about composition and lighting, texture and more will arise and they’ll have to make a choice. The teacher should be there to encourage and guide but not to overwhelm the student or they won’t learn self initiative. Once the student realizes they can solve a problem and that no one will punish them for making a mistake or tease them, they’ll look forward to tackling problems and become far more self reliant in all areas of their lives. Parents will notice the change for the better and that will be a big feather in any teacher’s hat.


Art Solving Life Problems

Now comes the big game. Students realizing that they can produce a work of art that could solve other problems. For example doing a painting of a problem area in town. It may be a dilapidated building that no one has taken responsibility for. No one could figure out what to do with it or how to take it down.

Then here comes one of your students finding the structure of interest. They draw it or paint it up and some city official or engineer comes by and see s the art. They realize that the painting shows something about the structure they hadn’t seen before.

It gives them an idea on how to remedy the situation and give credit to the painting and artist. A kid experiencing this kind of scenario will then know that they can make an impact on the world to solve a delicate problem with artwork skills. Armed with this knowledge they’ll forge ahead to new problems to be solved the creative way.



As stated earlier, problem solving is part of life. We all do it a hundred times a day. Kids using their art that presents problems and can be used to showcase and solve problems is a wellspring we all can drink from. In the end, once accustomed to facing and solving problems, the student will be stronger and greater asset to themselves, the school, family, and community.