Most of us who teach art like art. Face it. We are art nerds. Most of us like hanging at art-related events, talking about artists, looking at art, reading about art and making art. We like to try out new art products, experiment with materials and find new ways of using them. We like to tell others how we solved a particular art problem, because we are..well..teachers.
Even though we are all well aware of the importance of art in “leading to world peace,” we must remember when advocating for the arts whether in our classroom or the community at large, that some people have not been so..enlightened. It might do us (and our students) some good if just once in awhile, we step away from the comfort of our easels and the latest addition of Art News to try something..different. I am not an athlete. Never have been. But one day about 10 years ago, I decided to try out for the local women’s professional football league just for fun and to step outside my comfort zone for the sake of my students. I asked a friend to come along to film it. However, a news crew also showed up, so I ended up being interviewed on the 6 o’clock news, because..well..I sort of stood out in the crowd. I have shown replays of those films countless times to my students. Once the laughter subsides, I begin my comfort zone sermon. Most of them still ask me if I made the team. I tell them that we don’t need to be successful in football to learn how to appreciate football. Ties into art, doesn’t it? Not all of our students will be successful professional artists or even like art the way we do, but we are also raising awareness of the value of art in the lives of our students..some who might even become great patrons of the arts and some who might become creative problem solvers..making our world a better place to park our easels. Let’s model for our students what it’s like to step outside of our comfort zones and perhaps they might be more willing to listen and take calculated risks with their own art making in the classroom.