Teaching Children to Value Art and Artists
Johnson, Mia, Phi Delta Kappan
Children are often surprised, Ms. Johnson says, when they are helped to see the impact that artists in different fields have had on their environment.
During a stopover at the Seattle airport several years ago, my 4-year-old daughter was quietly tiding atop a baggage cart when suddenly she exclaimed, "Oh, how beautiful, Mommy - look at that painting! Look at all the different colors!" Her marked enthusiasm made it clear that, despite the pressures of arriving at our gate in time for the flight to Los Angeles, we would have to stop then and there so that she could alight, the better to appreciate the huge scale of a painting on canvas by Frank Stella.
Racing back and forth along the length of the painting, exclaiming all the while, she also happened on a large, shiny, tubular sculpture mounted on a stand close by. "Oh look," she cried, "it's ART!" The area around the sculpture was crowded with people of all ages, both standing and seated. Many of the older people laughed out loud, while several of the younger ones remarked, "It is?" and made disparaging remarks about the piece. Older children looked askance at my daughter as she chattily circled the stand.
Much as I was saddened by these children's response to a fine piece of work, I was even more bemused by my daughter's reaction. At that time, I had never taken her to a gallery, private or public. I'm not sure she had ever seen another image or object resembling this sculpture. But from an early age she has been exposed to many pictures of art in magazines, which …
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Publication information: Article title: Teaching Children to Value Art and Artists. Contributors: Johnson, Mia - Author. Journal title: Phi Delta Kappan. Volume: 78. Issue: 6 Publication date: February 1997. Page number: 454+. © 1999 Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1997 Gale Group.
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