How does Art Help Us?

Drawing stimulates the brain to grow in the areas that learn how to observe. Some children are born ‘artistically gifted’ and love to spend time more time drawing than others, but these habits can be nurtured and developed in most children. For all children (and adults) art can be used as a means to increase intellectual capacity to observe and express. Art is made of memories, imagination, observations. Memories are the inspiration, imagination helps provide the material for constructing art and observations help the artist make sense of the project, giving it direction and meaning.

Children who routinely practice drawing, painting, building with clay, cutting out shapes for collages etc. often discover how to make observations and drawings that seem advanced for their age.  Drawing and other observational art projects such as collages and collections encourage an eye for detail, awareness of differences and similarities. Drawing strengthens memory and promotes fine motor skills, spatial understanding, better handwriting and manual dexterity. Handwriting and drawing can definitely be improved when correct grip, pressure and posture are encouraged and monitored.

Drawing is the natural and best ‘beginner art’ for young children and can be enjoyed and improved as the child matures. Younger children are less apt to compare their drawings to others and are less self-critical and more tolerant of their own work. While most children benefit by early instruction and practice in observational drawing, not all are ready for instruction. Some may get frustrated when their drawings are not recognizable, and become resentful when help is offered. Show them how help, and practice can make a positive difference. Give them time and try a few months later, eventually most children will accept help. To keep the child's interest going, make it a fun activity with praise for effort.

Children naturally love the arts – painting, drawing, music, the theater. Unfortunately, when schools cut back on budgets, the arts are usually the first to go. It seems that schools do not appreciate the importance of art in building child’s brain. Physiologically, the human brain consists of two parts, the left and right hemispheres. The left brain is used in logical thinking and analytical processes. This is typically what is trained in school work that consists of math, reading and science. The right brain is used in emotional perception, intuition and creativity. It is the right brain that is mainly used when a person is involved in creative endeavors such as making art. Sadly, it is this part of the brain that typical school environment neglects to train.

It is shown that when gifted kids solve problems in their areas of giftedness, there is increased electrical activity in both hemispheres. It appears that for the brain to be efficient, the two hemispheres of the brains must work together. By stimulating and exercising the right hemisphere of the brain, the arts strengthen the connection between the hemispheres. Kids should be exposed to the arts as their cognitive skills mature so that their right brain will be as developed as the left, and both hemispheres work in tandem, thus achieving the full potential of the mind. Give your child a great start - give your child the gifts of art.

Marlene Bohnyak
Owner/Instructor, Artisan Studio