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Art for Art’s Sake

Mar 19, 2012

by Caleb Gardner handmade and vintage goods

When I met my wife, one of the most immediately intriguing things about her was how she integrated art into her everyday life. She was a sculptor, a fabric designer, and especially a painter; she seemed to take joy in spending hours working on creating something beautiful. The passion she brought to her work – how she could spend hours perfecting one brush stroke – was very appealing for a guy in college who had no idea what he wanted to do in life.

Now my wife is an art teacher and helps translate that passion to new generations of artists, as well as to our son. He’s only three years old, and he regularly paints pictures, plays with clay, and does other art-based activities. It’s not just crafts – she’s teaching him to be art-focused from a young age, so he’ll value the arts for the rest of his life. She talks to him about what he’s seeing and what he likes and doesn’t like. It’s much more valuable than just gluing macaroni to pieces of paper.

The intentionality with which she approaches his art education is what I love. We’re lucky that Miles will be able to go to a school that values the art department and actually funds a good art education, but many (many) school districts don’t put the same resources towards the arts. Art at home then becomes even more important, and an essential piece of learning to be still.

My wife tends to focus on visual arts, whereas I lean towards more written and musical art. When my wife was spending hours on one brush stroke, I was spending it with my guitar perfecting a verse. Both require patience and an obedience to the creation as it slowly comes to life. The focus it demands is refreshing in a world of quickly revolving 140 characters. It is also a skill that not many will have as technology becomes even more ubiquitous. If we can instill that skill in Miles from a young age, I think he’ll be able to live a more balanced life.

In addition to feeling comfortable creating art, we also want Miles to appreciate art for art’s sake. I didn’t grow up in a city that had such easy access to museums and cultural centers like in Chicago, so I want to make sure we take full advantage for Miles. We’ve already taken him to the Art Institute many times, but since he’s still very young, we end up spending most of our time in their fantastic children’s play area. When he’s old enough, we’ll start taking him through the exhibits and talking him through what he’s seeing – which will make for interesting conversation around the more risqué pieces.

We believe a good art education for Miles will help him be a more well-rounded person. More than the act of pausing to appreciate the work of an artist, stepping back to admire the craftsmanship and feeling that went into it, it will also give him an appreciation of the cultural nuances behind the piece. And if he can digest the feeling it brings up in himself, he’ll be that much more self-aware and ready to engage the world.

Do you live in a school district that values the arts? If not, how do you teach it to your children? How do you experience it with them?

More Posts From Caleb

3 Featured Comments

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    Judith and Raymond from AnnaOliveDesigns said 6 years ago Featured

    My husband and I live in CT, very close to New York and all of the wonderful museums that city has to offer. We have taken our children to the art museums at Yale and to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and they have enjoyed them very much. On a basic level, children do understand that you are exposing them to the creative works of others who are trying to tell a story, convey an emotion or re-capture an historical event. Giving your children the opportunity to see these works will enhance their lives tenfold because they will understand that they can express themselves in a variety of ways.

  • TandJsoaps

    Theresa Hovish from TandJsoaps said 6 years ago Featured

    What a beautiful story. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am a high school art teacher and have sadly seen the decline in my own arts program and others in the area. Slim support. I believe that art education supports not only the student's intellectual and educational development but also their personal and social development. It makes no sense to say that we want a country of creative thinkers then take away the creativity. Your son is so lucky to have you!

  • sosaecaetano

    Sosae from sosaecaetano said 6 years ago Featured

    I really like gluing macaroni to pieces of paper. And I've actually witnessed some (is it possible???) sublime pieces of macaroni-art in kindergarten classrooms. Art isn't always lofty. It's often very ordinary. If you can see it for what it is. I find the museum-culture to be rather snobbish, with a very narrow vision of what Art can be or ought to be. (Had a look at some magnificent inner-city graffiti art? Those kids can do amazing things, and they'll never get recognition from any art critics for it.)


  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux said 6 years ago

    Awsome story!

  • MissHildebrandt

    Miss Hildebrandt from MissHildebrandt said 6 years ago

    WHAT A DARLING share! Thank you.

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    Judith and Raymond from AnnaOliveDesigns said 6 years ago Featured

    My husband and I live in CT, very close to New York and all of the wonderful museums that city has to offer. We have taken our children to the art museums at Yale and to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and they have enjoyed them very much. On a basic level, children do understand that you are exposing them to the creative works of others who are trying to tell a story, convey an emotion or re-capture an historical event. Giving your children the opportunity to see these works will enhance their lives tenfold because they will understand that they can express themselves in a variety of ways.

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    Great post!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 6 years ago

    My favorite class in school was art. After I had finished an assignment, and if we had time, I was allowed to make anything I wanted using the supplies in class. I made lots of extra paintings, jewelry, etc. Having the freedom, time, and many mediums to express myself was the best part of school!

  • WildPoppyShoppe

    Jessica from WildPoppyShoppe said 6 years ago

    My kiddo are 2, almost 3, and 5 and love to paint with watercolors or oil paints or just scribble with crayons. We look at books with paintings by famous and not so famous artists and talk about what we see, why the artist might have used the colors they did, or just what we like about the picture. We get outside and carry journals with us that are sturdy enough for writing, sketching and a bit of water color painting and draw, paint, or write about what we see- nature is our best inspiration!

  • pookiegalore

    Elizabeth Hamilton from pookiegalore said 6 years ago

    My mom homeschooled my brother and I, and she took us to as many free art things as possible, as well as using books and PBS to show us new and different things. Especially with the internet, it doesn't have to be expensive to learn about art. It just takes time and effort.

  • flourishingagain

    Lacey from FlourishingAgain said 6 years ago

    So lucky to have an amazing music program in high school. We were the only school in the district to have band, choir, and orchestra. 12 years out from school, I still find myself singing as I was taught and looking for an instrument to play, even if all I do is drum my fingers on the desk at work. For all the highs and lows in life, this has been my sustaining force.

  • Parachute425

    Terry from Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    Living in Chicago gives our family a wealth of museums, theatres, architecture, music, dance and some darn good graffiti. Our children grew with an appreciation of the art that surrounded them everyday. Today they have creative careers in theatre and television.

  • ACupOfSparkle

    ACupOfSparkle from ACupOfSparkle said 6 years ago

    I live in Seattle but; don't have kids myself. However, I really appreciate parents like you guys who teach arts to their children and emphasize the importance of it starting from very early ages. Great article, thanks for sharing your story.


    LIAT kires from ATLIART said 6 years ago

    Exactly as you said "art education will help everybody be a more well-rounded person" thanx for sharing

  • iadornu

    Mary Beth Heishman from iadornu said 6 years ago

    I too am an Art Teacher in Las Vegas, NV. I teach at an elementary school, so I see K-5 students throughout the week. So far the school district in Las Vegas supports K-12 arts programs. My students leave my room aware of the arts and arts history. Students and parents will share stories of being a museum, picking up a book or seeing on television a famous work of art and their child will immediately recall who the artist was and the importance of the work. My students always say, Mrs. Heishman not only teaches us art she teaches us the history of the world. I hope that my students when they hit middle and high school will continue their arts as an elective even if it is not in the Visual Arts. Although we are not on the "test,” I hope my school district keeps the arts education in our community!

  • 2007musarra

    Lisa Marie Musarra from 2007musarra said 6 years ago

    LIfe with out art is just a horrible thing to imagine. My whole family is very artistic and always have been. My mom loves glitter, my brother draws and paints, my dad well he can do anything he puts his mind to. My sister in law is an art teacher in Cleveland, Ohio and they have turned her into a gym-study hall- everything else but art teacher, its a shame since she went back to school just to teach kids these vital skills.

  • Waterrose

    Rose Waterrose from Waterrose said 6 years ago

    Just wanted to tell you that what you wrote is so important. It saddens me how many schools have removed arts and music. There is so much lost in a balanced education when kids don't have the opportunity to learn the arts. We need articles like yours written in sports and science newsletters to reach that audience. Thanks

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 6 years ago

    I appreciate this post so much. The arts being taken out of schools and I find that shameful.

  • Attractive1

    Elena Fom from Attractive1 said 6 years ago

    Growing in small town with 3 museums i can recommend to get books on art. It was my way. Last month i was on lectures of Francuas Barb-Gall "How to talk with children about art". Iwas very impressed and can recommend to all her book in English!

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags said 6 years ago

    Formidable ! Thanks !

  • megsylegs

    Meg said 6 years ago

    I was lucky to grow up in a city where many of our best museums are free. My mother was an artist and professional baker- she paints cookies. They're beautiful. She made sure we all had a solid foundation in the arts. All four of us girls are artistic in very different ways.

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts said 6 years ago

    When our children were very young we were lucky to live only 45 minutes from the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC. Since most of them were free of charge, it became one of our favorite family entertainments. They enjoyed them so much that every time we were in a family vacation we had to include a local museum. It was a wonderful opportunity that we still cherish.

  • beliz82

    Beliz from beliz82 said 6 years ago

    How wonderful !! Saving one more article for my future kids !!

  • maryhahlbohm1

    Mary Hahlbohm from ZadieGlass said 6 years ago

    Thank you for your inspiring blog. I hope to take a large role in cultivating art appreciation and action with my granddaughter. It sounds to me like your son is a very fortunate little fellow! All the best!

  • leslietsy

    Leslie Sirag from FindingsbyLeslietsy said 6 years ago

    Our house is bursting with art, art supplies, musical insturments, 6000LPs, and who knows how many books, tapes, CDs, videos, etc., but we live in Olympia, WA not exactly a cultural center, though things do happen here from time to time. All 5 of our children were adopted from foster care at ages from 8 to 14, and had had very little exposure to art, though our 2 younger daughters had been in a home where the foster mom gave piano and violin lessons, so they'd had a year or so of those. However, one of the first questions our older son asked when we met him was whether we could take him to a museum -- he'd never, at afe 12, been to one. Well, as you can imagine, we remedied that with all sorts of museums--history, art, Native American (incorporating both, plus music), even though for the first yearor so that meant having labels read aloud to us! But he asked perceptive questions, which we were happy toanswer and/or show him how to find his own answers. We did manage to produce 5 readers -- not having TV helped, and our kids will all tell you that we not only took them to the library but bought them books and art supplies, instruments and music books, took them to concerts and festivals, especially the big ones in Seattle, plays and dance performances, and even went to NY by train with our 3 middle kids (at ages 8, 11, and 15) not only to introduce them to friends and relatives across the country and to give them the experience of riding a train and having a family vacation, but specifically to see the huge Matisse retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Of course we also introduced them to the wonderful New York Public Library System, the Museum of Natural History, and various smaller museums and galleries. My cousin took us to a prehistoric animal exhibit (moving mastodons!) on Long Island, etc., etc And of course when we came back we continued with what was available locally plus trips to Seattle several times a year. All of them are adults now, and the 4 oldest have children of their own. Our oldest daughter, who came at 14 and is Native American, is not as involved with art as our later kids, but does have some Native art in her house. Her kids, now in their 20s, went to concerts, galleries, etc. with us as children and teens, and we've been giving them art to eventually have a place in thier homes for the last 8 or 10birthdays, etc. The 3 middles all value art and reading for their children--even though the last 2 grands are only 3 & 1 at this point, I have a photo of Ellie, then not yet 2, sitting up in her crib "reading" to herself, and the request for her first birthday was big paper and the crayons to go with it. Both the littles have easels, too, though I haven't seen them in use yet. Our older son is divorced, but his daughter,now 9, is a voracious reader--we took her to get her first library card on a visit when she was 6, and she just about literally buried herself in books for the rest of her visit, except when we were making art together. Luckily her mom sees the value of having her come and do that, although arranging visits is a logistic nightmare. Our youngest son is not quite21, perhaps the most voracious reader of all,but has some major health issues, both mental and physical, and is currently living on the street. However, he drops by or sometimes meets me downtown to make jewelry, which he then sells or trades for things he wants. He gave me perhapsthe best compliment ever:he told oneof his friends, "Everything she touches turns into art, but she's very modest." (& of course I'm writing this from my supply store--if you want to see some of what I actually make, go to TheCreativeBlock, here on etsy.) Raising our kids has made me very aware of the lack of exposure to the arts suffered by many "throwaway" kids. I'm not sure what can be done about that, but I think it's actually something the foster care sustem needs to address if kids coming out of it are to besuccessful adults.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    I think it's great to see families out enjoying art, there's so much to be gained from being out in galleries from identifying aesthetics to looking at the techniques of art. I think it's a shame that school budgets seem to neglect art, its also really part of self expression and self exploration too!

  • littlewhitechapel

    Paige from littlewhitechapel said 6 years ago

    I was lucky to grow up near Chicago, so we had all sorts of cool art-related things to do and see. My mom got us started with it very early, and I'm so glad she did. We also had great art programs through school (which I'm also thankful for) but even if we didn't, Mom did a great job.

  • TandJsoaps

    Theresa Hovish from TandJsoaps said 6 years ago Featured

    What a beautiful story. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am a high school art teacher and have sadly seen the decline in my own arts program and others in the area. Slim support. I believe that art education supports not only the student's intellectual and educational development but also their personal and social development. It makes no sense to say that we want a country of creative thinkers then take away the creativity. Your son is so lucky to have you!

  • TandJsoaps

    Theresa Hovish from TandJsoaps said 6 years ago

    Oh yeah. If you live in New York State, please take a moment to sign this petition:

  • AlternativeBlooms

    Alternative Blooms from AlternativeBlooms said 6 years ago

    Not 2 mins ago my son just burned himself with the glue gun ... where Art is made there is pain :) Where there is pain there is art ! Great lesson to learn. Actually, you may be surprised to hear how many parents do not let a child explore art for fear of mess and injury. Programs through schools of art and museums along with open shops are a treasured gift for children to safely explore and I encourage all artist to open up your studio to a small group of children or support your local boy's and girls clubs by volunteering an evening of art. It is a good thing :) Careful with the glue guns of course :) WONDERFUL Article - Thank you!

  • blmcdaniel

    Blake McDaniel from blmcdaniel said 6 years ago

    Great story. I appreciate how the parents want to nourishes their kid’s talent at a young age.

  • buddhacat444

    Dana from BuddhaCatCreations said 6 years ago

    We are fortunate to have live in a city (Grand Rapids, Michigan) that not only has an Art Musuem (where my daughter is employed) but is also the host city for ArtPrize - an art competition which brings in artists from around the world and transforms our City into a gigantic art exhibition for nearly 3 weeks every September!

  • tsmdesigns123

    Teresa Madore from tsmdesigns123 said 6 years ago

    I wish I lived near some museums...the closest museum is 6 hours away. Guess that's why I create my own art :-)

  • Macramaking

    Ellen from Macramaking said 6 years ago

    Love this post! I wish I had taken my kids to more art museums when they were little. The world famous art galleries I saw in Italy last summer made a huge impact on how I see art & the world now... I would love to take them too!

  • sosaecaetano

    Sosae from sosaecaetano said 6 years ago Featured

    I really like gluing macaroni to pieces of paper. And I've actually witnessed some (is it possible???) sublime pieces of macaroni-art in kindergarten classrooms. Art isn't always lofty. It's often very ordinary. If you can see it for what it is. I find the museum-culture to be rather snobbish, with a very narrow vision of what Art can be or ought to be. (Had a look at some magnificent inner-city graffiti art? Those kids can do amazing things, and they'll never get recognition from any art critics for it.)

  • PopLoveCouture

    Shai Wallach from PopLoveCouture said 6 years ago

    I can remember from the time I was a kid, my parents used to make a point of taking us to art galleries. It really helped me build a sense of form and shape as well as develop a true sense of taste, even from an early age. I think that nowadays it's even more important for children to learn how to express themselves creatively. They're certainly not getting it from their schools.

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace from VintageMarketPlace said 6 years ago

    I work with my child as much as possible in the arts. both my husband and I are artists and my whole side of the family as well. We live in the worst area for art. It is not in school, nor do we have museums to share with him. It is all up to us to have him learn his own art skills. At 2 years of age he was drawing all his favorite tv characters. It was such a proud feeling to see his natural ability as such a young age.

  • Tonami

    Angela Thibodeau from SunnyHouse said 6 years ago

    Great post to read. When my baby was just a few months old I began bringing her to galleries and screenings. To my surprise, she was completely engaged in the artwork. A tiny baby, barely able to perceive the world around her, can appreciate art in her own way. There must be something very basic inside of all of us that knows art, right from birth. Now that she's a year and a half old, she's obsessed with drawing and watching other people create. This is normal for babies. Babies are born artists!!! Watching her, I no longer have doubts about the meaning of art. So I have to wonder... As we grow up, from child to adult, how do so many people lose their fascination with art?

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 6 years ago

    Great post and very, very relevant. I don't have any children, but I do have an adorable nephew who is 2 years old. He really loves drawing and coloring and art in general. My husband and I like to buy him fun designs and papers (his mom likes the special paper for special markers so he doesn't make a mess), and every time we go over there we color or paint or use clay. He's really an amazing little artist! His imagination is amazing and I try my hardest to see what he sees :)

  • dottywalker

    Dotty Walker from SewThoughtfulBlanket said 6 years ago

    Love the story. Thanks for sharing.

  • EnterpriseAmericana

    Enterprise Americana from EnterpriseAmericana said 6 years ago

    Teach your children well.

  • AriaCouture

    Aria Clements from AriaCouture said 6 years ago

    My daughter is almost 28 months, and has been to art museums as well as multiple professional ballets. In the last four months alone, she has had more exposure to the arts than many adults will experience in years. It's not difficult to instill a love of art, visual as well as performing, by letting these little mimics watch us enjoy it. Since they love to be little copycats, what they see us love they will likely end up loving as well.

  • emleehandmade

    Michelle Hill from emleehandmade said 6 years ago

    thanks for sharing. I too love exposing and sharing art with my son, visual, written and sound.

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact said 6 years ago

    I am also among those fortunate to live in a city with many galleries, museums and art programs (Minneapolis). I remember overhearing a woman at a museum with a young girl, stopping in front of a painting and asking the girl, "So, what story do you see in this picture?" And the child just launched into a wonderful imaginative journey about a cat in a garden. It was a wonderful example of how to explore a museum with a child in a way that is accessible to the child.

  • ArtyDidact

    Sharon Parker from ArtyDidact said 6 years ago

    Oh, and I meant to add, I agree that it's a shame that arts have received short shrift when it comes to school program funding -- and there are studies to show that art education boosts achievement in all subjects, so there's really no excuse for it!

  • SisterMaryTopiary

    SisterMaryTopiary from SisterMaryTopiary said 6 years ago

    I have 4 children, mostly grown, but all were exposed to lots of art from toddlerhood. My eldest two are both musicians; my eldest daughter is a trained soprano, former show choir (think Glee) performer and plays French horn, trumpet, fiddle, and sax. My eldest son played trombone in high school and college, and studied sculpture in college. He loves to go to art museums now, though he never did as a child. My younger daughter has worked in her sketchbooks every day since she was a little girl and is very skilled at drawing, painting and composition. She has also exhibited her art in the U.S. and Canada in juried competitions. My youngest really enjoys cartooning. I say these things not to brag (though that's fun, too), but to let younger parents know that the best thing you can do for your kids is to expose them to working artists, musicians and read to them every night to spark their imaginations. When kids see artists at work, it lets them realize that real grown up people like to make things, and they can do this, too. Give them lots of crayons, pens, pencils, paints and lots of craft paper. And let them draw and paint on the walls. Limit TV. Have lots of dress up stuff. Go to the library a lot. It shows them confidence in their imagination and it teaches them they can create their world.

  • honeyhurd

    HurdandHoney Hurd from HurdandHoney said 6 years ago

    This is a fabulous article! I am a public school teacher that recognizes the deep value of art education...yet I definitely struggle to get the arts incorporated into the curriculum. I don't think there is one right way to do this either; what really matters is the educator (teacher, parent, etc.) and whether or not they value art education. Exposing children to the details in a leaf and giving them enough time to sketch it the way they see it. Or perhaps giving them the time to listen to a piece of music and develop an ability to understand the "aesthetics" of something they may not necessarily like, but can find value regardless. Without art education (visual, music, theater, dance) it will be hard for the future generations to know which direction they are supposed to go. Thank you for this lovely post - it resonates with me deeply. ~Honey

  • popkingarb

    Ea Senga from lamerdereve said 6 years ago

    sadly, there are only a few (if any) schools that offer a curriculum that values art in the Philippines. to pu it directly, art is considered an extra-curricular activity here, and requires additional fees. as an artist myself, i'm disappointed that that is the view of art in our country. yet i'm still hopeful that art will become more accessible to everyone here, in the future. i'm already taking charge of my son's art appreciation and basics, and i hope i will be able to sustain it. :)

  • AsBoldAsLions

    Amanda Molandes from AsBoldAsLions said 6 years ago

    As an art education major in college, I can highly relate to this article. It is a dire need for our young (and older!) generations to appreciate and value art! Currently, I'm interning twice a week at a large, local high school. Fortunately for that school, the arts funds is incredible. I'm very excited to one day have children, in the sense of teaching them the value of art. I hope to daily do projects with them and teach them to see the world with an artistic eye. The write-up was great!

  • katrinaalana

    Katrina Alana from KatrinaAlana said 6 years ago

    I grew up with little resources in the arts so I'm developing my skills at such a later age. Art books and supplies can be expensive but at least there are a lot of free resources in the internet now. It's so great that you're able to teach the value of the arts to your son at such a young age.

  • SassySisterVintage

    Kim Strozewski from SassySisterVintage said 6 years ago

    Art in public schools? What's that? It doesn't exist in South Alabama. Luckily I have a whole cabinet filled with paints and other craft items. My girls get it out on a regular basis and have the best time painting or doing polymer clay. Their friends come over and are so excited to "play" at the kitchen table. Many of them have never painted in their lives, much less know what polymer clay is. So glad I'm able to give them this exposure.

  • HangaBag

    Eunice Han from HangaBag said 6 years ago

    What's wrong with 'just craft'? I'm wondering if this article is in the right place at Etsy, organized with a group of people who sell handmade crafts. Also wondering if the writer is well-rounded enough to be able to appreciate and value our wonderful and creative ideas presented here.

  • HandmadeIsAllAround

    HandmadeIsAllAround from iammieOWLshop said 6 years ago

    I love arts!

  • JillianReneDecor

    Jillian Carmine from JillianReneDecor said 6 years ago

    Great article - thanks so much for sharing! I don't have any children yet but I definitely plan to expose them to all forms of art and hopefully they will be able to attend a school where art is valued. I was lucky enough to have exposure to art programs throughout my education, including college, and I truly think its value is priceless. @Eunice - I believe the term crafts is being used in the context of making art vs. studying art at a gallery/museum.

  • summercampvintage

    summer camp from summercampvintage said 6 years ago

    i love this- an appreciation of beauty fostered from an early age is such a gift.

  • sarahknight

    Sarah from sarahknight said 6 years ago

    I don't have any kids, but I once was one. I have an art degree, and on most days I "make something" even if it's' only dinner... generally it's more complicated than dinner. Kids don't need to be dragged to museums and forced to pretend to care about boring old paintings that are only important because someone owned them and might not be the greatest works under the sun just because the modern concept of experiencing art regards that as gaining culture. I learned plenty from constructing homes for my legos and playing Barbies... because I had to style their hair and give them personalities and storylines and make them clothes and homes and stuff to do. There is an art to learning to mould a mud pie and engineer roadways for matchbox cars. As it turns out, kids aren't empty vessels, and they don't need their parents to liberally just shove stuff in them. Often, the greatest learned moments happen organically when children are allowed to discover things uninhibited by pesky and unnerving questions from parents. You never really experience anything as an individual if it's always Mommy or Daddy just reading from a script. As an 11 year old I always found portraiture to be incessantly boring. As it turns out, most of the stuff that's in museums is just pictures of rich people showing off their riches before the invention of cameras... you need an art history class for that, not necessarily a museum...

  • HangaBag

    Eunice Han from HangaBag said 6 years ago

    @Jillian-I don't think so. I think he truly believes that crafts are less valuable form. So do not try to lecture me.

  • emilytorres01

    Emily torres said 6 years ago

    like the sentence, art for art's sake...

  • sosaecaetano

    Sosae from sosaecaetano said 6 years ago

    Worded brilliantly, Sarah/Sarahknight! You expressed the thoughts I wanted to express but couldn't...

  • Piggy

    Piggy from Piggy said 6 years ago

    Beautiful story! I am quite fortunate that I took art classes when I was at a young age and my teacher was one that teaches not just the art itself but the history and appreciate of it. Now that I am much older, I do enjoy visiting the museums, galleries and even shopping at the craft markets. I feel that besides knowing how to create art, appreciating them is also important.

  • shuqi

    Emily Lim from shuqi said 6 years ago

    Good story. teaching children when they are young. It is good foundation for art. Thanks for sharing.:)

  • KathieLL

    Kathie Longbricco said 6 years ago

    It's way to early with not enough coffee to be eloquent about how this has made me feel, but... YES! YES! YES! and thank you.

  • muffintopdesigns

    cy and d from TheLovelySmith said 6 years ago

    having a background in visual arts and art therapy, i know first hand the therapeutic benefits of creative expression! i think it's important to foster an appreciation of everything beautiful in our children, so that they can continue to find the art in their everyday lives. the power in the artmaking process holds more weight than we can ever imagine. my husband and i are trying to encourage our daughter's artistic and musical endeavours, and we do so with joy - it is a gift to be able to do that for (and with) her!

  • misseffie

    misseffie from misseffie said 6 years ago

    Very nice article.

  • DaisyandJess

    Daisy and Jess from DaisyandJess said 6 years ago

    Inspirational! Life without creativity would be terrible!

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd said 6 years ago

    Art education is always a hugh plus. I have three that when they were small many of the times we spent together were that of doing a creative something or other. It was a great time that I miss as they are now getting older. Our schools do offer art to its students but I feel it could always be more. My one ended up expressing her creativity thru music and the other two I find it comes out in different ways as well. I myself have always loved being creative from as far back as I can remember. Today, I try hard to follow the passion and stay true to it. I think if you have a love in being creative then you can't ignore it but owe it to ourselves to only pursue it. Great story you shared and as for the cold winters of Chicago well spring starts today!

  • goodbeads

    goodbeads from goodbeads said 6 years ago

    Great article and great question!

  • TracyHallArt

    Tracy Cecilia Hall from TracyHallArt said 6 years ago

    Form follows function AND function follows form. Scientists and engineers NEED artists/creative people AND we need them, too! School systems have got to realize this. My daughters are teens now but we always had play -do out everyday and plenty of markers and paints and beads and yarn, etc. When we are driving I always remark on the sky or the shape of trees or clouds or point out what a great photo this or that would be. Have art books and magazines laying around the house - they will pick them up and flip through them!

  • redemptionart

    Connie Haskell from redemptionart said 6 years ago

    My Hawaiian culture has always had a bent toward the arts. We all dance and sing and create. Unfortunately there was a time when this was discouraged by the colonizers as they viewed our native practices as pagan. Although its been 200 years, the negative, oppressive impact this had on our people really hurt us when it came to being able to express our creativity. We are now emerging, healing and embracing our culture and the freedom to be creative. I encourage my children and now grandchildren to find their purpose and to know that no one has to give them permission to do what it is they are passionate about. Thank you for your heart for the arts and how important it is to leave this legacy for the next generations. Aloha!

  • bungelowjame

    Jamie Creason from Bungelowjame said 6 years ago

    I belong to a group of dedicated artists in our community who are trying to bring art into the lives of the children here! Local funding for the arts in schools has dried we have a need! We just started up last fall.....your blog post fits right into our MISSION! Thank you for sharing!

  • GBSCreations

    Sandra Bruce from GBSCreations said 6 years ago

    What a great story! Art is so important and it is so important to see that our children are exposed to it!

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy said 6 years ago

    I really appreciated your article! The "work" in teaching and modeling a love of art to our kids is well worth the effort!! Seeing my kids creativity brings such joy-my wall decorations are my kids art projects from school-all over the house!!!

  • debbyhillberg

    Debby from DebbysHandmadeGoods said 6 years ago

    I encouraged my son with music and art and now my two grand daughters love painting as well. I have also taught my oldest some of my other hobbies and I agree that it teaches patience. Great article. Thank you.

  • loralyn1

    Laura King from LoralynDesigns said 6 years ago

    Fantastic story, thank you!

  • BigRockPaperCo

    Melissa Cyrenne from BigRockWeddingFavors said 6 years ago

    I teach the history of paper to evoke the idea that sometimes, the things they take for granted on a daily basis has its roots. Both the history and the paper itself have inspired many wonderful works of art; books that have defined generations, and on it the music that has shaped our spirits. My children may or may not appreciate the knowledge I have on this art form and medium; but at the very least I would hope it inspires them to look into their own interests in art. One thing I tell them is that if they appreciate one type of art to always find out where it came from, learn all you can, and always make something beautiful from those inspirations.

  • uswatsons

    Sylvie Liv from SylvieLiv said 6 years ago

    Neat story. And a good reminder to get my kids to the table with their paints more often! Thank you!

  • twoknit

    Martha Villa from twoknit said 6 years ago

    Great story ! thank you !

  • TresChicNmodern

    TresChicNmodern from TresChicNmodern said 6 years ago


  • rorymosman

    Rory Mosman from FeatherKeeper said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the post. I too like to engage the "artist" in my children. Art can be so many different things and so different to each individual. Art is one of the few things that everyone can enjoy and even take part in regardless of education, ability, intelligence, or a myriad of other restrictions that one might encounter in life! From lofty or low art is how you perceive it.

  • HighPointFarm2010

    HighPointFarm2010 from HighPointFarm2010 said 6 years ago

    I so appreciate this article. Having raised 3 sons who were active in the arts in school. They now have a sense of style in their homes..geeze when you think they aren't listening????? They surprise you. I can relate to your comment on working on a verse with my guitar, seems to take for-ever but once you got it you know it.

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny said 6 years ago

    When I do have kids, I certainly intend to instill in them an appreciation for art and a desire to create, much like my grandmother did with me when I was young. Those components of my personality are still growing, and I hope that I can channel her to help guide me in passing these skills on to the next generation. Thank you for this article, I really enjoyed your perspective and those of the responses that you've gotten. Very informative!

  • joyousheart

    joyousheart said 6 years ago

    I come from a family of 7 children.we had parents who read to us .Books were treasured .We grew up making our own toys, every birthday a box of crayons, coloring book and consturction paper and glue,sometimes even scotchtape!Our mom showed us how to make paper dolls and cardbored houses.,we acted out our favorite stories ,,made villages for our matchbox cars outside and our dolls ect. Bits of material ,buttons , tinfoil, twigs, shells ect. could become anything , Imagination was encouraged. We got a tv when I was 12 but had limited access.our parents loved the outdoors.I followed the same with our 4 children.Limited TV .plenty of books ,talking about the stories and art work,There is amazing artwork in childrens books.They had crayons, plenty of paper..typing paper is cheap ,so are paperbags.Birthdays saw nicer paper...colored pencils,watercolors, glue..ect...and leggos.I built many a leggo town .We decorated cakes..and made "sculptures with the food in our plates.If you can take them to museams...great.A walk in the woods can be just as great,or on a beach, collecting things from nature to admire or make things with.I think if you take the time to do art, or read or play and do "make-believe" you instill in them that they are worthwhile persuits anyone can do..That they are not things just "artists "can do.Discuss the look of the houses, buildings ,nature arround you.Bring them to parks,enjoy the beauty with them.This includes music..ART is everywhere..if you take the time to experience it with them..looking at it, talking about it ,how the colors,or the shapes, sounds, whatever, makes you/them feel and color/paint ,create with them ,tell stories,write,sew ect. you teach them anyone can create,Though all of our children ended up in construction,which has its own creative side, they all have done some amazing artwork, be it a drawing ,painting,carving,sculpture or music because they were taught that it was a natural thing to do..not only for the "talented "few.Thankyou

  • leonandcoco

    Diana Heredia from leonandcoco said 6 years ago

    It's funny how much this reminds me of our family: Tom will spend hours on the guitar, while I'll try to pull off the perfect print! I've taken the kids to our museums all within a few minutes walk from us since they were babies. It means that I might not be able to read all the details or contemplate something I like for longer than 5 minutes, but they've always loved it. When Coco was just 20 moths old, we saw a floor installation by Jim Lambie and Coco lay down on the floor exclaiming "Schoeeen!" (German for beautiful). Everybody in the gallery was laughing, I don't think anyone had expected such a tiny person to show this reaction to art. We always manage to engage them and they show far more tolerance than I do!

  • jdesigner16

    jdesigner16 said 6 years ago

    such a wonderful story! it really stimulated my creative energy. Thanx for both:D

  • janastuff

    Jana and KK from janastuff said 6 years ago

    Thank you, Caleb, for these insightful and inspiring words. As an Art Teacher for preschoolers it is refreshing to hear this point of view from a parent. The words Art and Teacher are often misused in reference to young children's creative development. Creativity cannot be taught, it can be nurtured, encouraged, supported, even guided. But, it can also be squelched, and suffocated and confined to connecting the dots and filling in the lines. The problem with relying on craft projects to fulfill a young child's art education is that crafts focus on the end result, a goal that stresses conformity and promotes external validation: "Good job!" Also a craft project generally makes use of limited materials, i.e. macaroni, glue, paper - done! Children's natural creativity flourishes in an environment be it a spacious art studio or a kitchen table, where they are offered a wide variety of materials (both natural and commercially made) and lots of uninterrupted time to explore and experiment without any expectation from their "teacher" as to what their "art" is supposed to be.

  • cmix

    Melissa Mix from cmix said 6 years ago

    Art really give people a voice, especially young people. Art is a way to communicate to others what we may not be able to say with words. I work with a population of students with learning delays and social and emotional disabilities. I have found that creativity does not come naturally to most and it needs to be guided and encouraged. While art can teach us many things I love the idea of ART FOR ART SAKE. Forget about the theories and learning and just have fun making something new. I often forget to do this myself and this is a good reminder. Great article, thanks!

  • berrymorin

    Rona B said 6 years ago

    We started taking our son to museums when he was 2 years old while living in San Diego. As he got older I introduced him to the San Diego Youth Theater performances. It was my pleasure to see his big eyes full of excitement. By the time he started middle school he started pencil drawing, taking art and music lessons. He's now a 20 yr old young man who can read music, play several instruments and still continues to draw.

  • autumnvelvetrose

    Autumn Rose from ArtbyAutumnRose said 6 years ago

    This is inspiring many;)

  • bogARTstudiogallery

    Claudia Bogart from bogARTstudiogallery said 6 years ago

    Art, like life, can be messy. Process is more important than results. self expression, recycling nature, and trash into art. Art and Nature, observing nature's designs, rearenging natural elements like stones, feathers, plants, and flowers together to creeate an art piece, turning leaves into masks, etc, and of course observing others art... some of the things we (My pre schoolers students and me) explored when I was teaching ART at the NCTC in Shepherdstown WV. I always say that kids as adults have to have a place at home to do art, it's also important to recognize children's art as such. Children respect their own art work, and they like to think of themselves as artists too.

  • braquelsbathroom

    Tyra from shopbelleandblaire said 6 years ago

    Awesome story!!! :)

  • JulieCreates

    Julie from JulieCreates said 6 years ago

    ...the EARTH, without ART, is just EH ;)

  • suzanneartist

    Suzanne Urban from SmirkingGoddess said 6 years ago

    I work in an elementary school-not as a teacher though. I have taught children art at Silvermine Artist Guild in Norwalk CT. I find teaching children has it's benefits for me as their lack of inner critical judgement, willingness to tackle a new project with glee has in turn inspired me. Creating art developes so many valuable thinking processes, I often wonder if we're raising kids in this century to compete against a ton of other kids in science and math, because the arts sometimes takes a back seat. SU

  • MelissaKojima

    Melissa Kojima from ArtistInLALALand said 6 years ago

    This is definitely an important question and issue. I'm glad you are passing on art appreciation to the future generations. I think we all are in some way in our Etsy commmunity.

  • lauraprill

    Laura Prill from lauraprill said 6 years ago

    thanks for exploring this topic...when i was little i spent lots of time outside as well as making drawings and playing piano, activities I'm still doing to this day.FInding out that it's OK to spend time alone processing or creating seems to be a huge part of what we can hand down to our children.

  • DigitalDownloadsNMor

    DigitalDownloadsNMor from DigitalDownloadsNMor said 6 years ago

    I so enjoyed reading your story, Caleb! When you spoke about how art is and will be an important part of your son's life I thought of how being able to see and make art is so easy today with all the technology we have at our finger tips! I'm new to Etsy and my first products are "Born Digital" works of art. I learned this term from the Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. It means that they are conceived and born digitally. They are original "drawings" I can make on my iphone to share and sell. Anyone, including children, with a smart phone or tablet and an app can create art and share it. I'm hoping we'll see digital art collections trend! Good luck with your family!

  • Zalavintage

    Zane Saracene from Zalavintage said 6 years ago

    So true Caleb, I loved coming home from work to be greeted by a child covered in fingerpaint presenting me with her latest piece. We moved to a camera and allowed her to capture the world from her perspective, a bench in the park, a flower, a dog sleeping.... the simple pleasures of a well lived life

  • traceystreasures

    T.L Wilson from traceystreasures said 6 years ago

    I love this post! It gives me so much reflection for thought. It has made me think more intensely on how I approach art (the many different venues and genres) with my grandchildren. I believe this to be of such importance, and so vital for the development of many different aspects of their character. The funny thing is, I never really gave it this much thought, until I read your article; It was then that I realized how truly important it is to expose them to all aspects of art and follow their exposure with age appropriate conversation, then maybe even activities based on their experience. Thank you for enlightening me!

  • djezair

    okan cezayirli from djezair said 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing.

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