This may sound simple but art, the act of creating is a very powerful tool in building community and self-esteem in young people. It can also open up necessary conversations that cannot be communicated in other ways. Art-making develops critical thinking skills, it teaches young people to find uncommon solutions to problems and it offers often a necessary escape for situations that can be overwhelming. It also can teach young people that collaborations can be exciting and invigorating. This gives them the tools to be a participatory member of the democratic system and building community. Sketch in Toronto offers street youth the opportunity and access to an art studio and community artists and the results have lead to people finding their creative and life path. It also offers a space that is beyond survival where they can view themselves as a complete person outside of a homeless or street-involved youth. I have been trained as an artist and although I may not create art in my day to day life I found the critical thinking skills I developed from that training has served me in many work/life situations. And working directly with children and youth in art making I've seen first hand the extraordinary and positive impact it has had. That is difficult to match in any other way. Art should not be about a few people being 'good' and 'talented' and most abandoning it if they are not. We all need to draw, make crafts, paint for all the positive ways it relaxes us, improves our brain function and mental health and again teaches us problem-solving skills that can apply to all aspects of our lives.
Finding success through the arts
- 82% of students who participate in structured music programs finished high school, compared to 68% of those who did not.
- At-risk students who got involved in the arts, compared with students who had little or no arts exposure, have higher secondary school graduation rates; higher overall grade-point averages; higher math grade-point averages; higher test scores in science and writing; and are more likely to pursue post-secondary education.
Arts Facts (TAC)
What children/youth gain from the arts: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/22/top-10-skills-children-learn-from-the-arts/
Art gives kids life-long problem solving skills:
Art improves our brain:
How Art builds community: