Report of our EXpedition

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The frivolous, easy A

With the heavy push towards STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, there seems to be a need to eliminate arts education. Now this is simply from my own observation and research. But the arts, at least here in the United States, is regarded(in my opinion) as being frivolous and unnecessary. I bring this up, because it reminds me when I took Art 170 at my Alma mater, Ohio State. This course was beginning drawing. And it not only was a requirement for art majors, but it was also offered as an elective, available for non art majors.

This class was memorable, not because of the subject matter or professor, but because of two students who were not art majors. What stands out was that both of these individuals thought that Art 170 would be an easy A. From the first day of class, both of these non art students were lost. The principles, and ideas presented, totally dumbfounded the two of them. It was so difficult for these individuals to grasp line, shadow, volume, and perspective. And just as they were getting the hang of using pencil, the professor would switch to charcoal, then pastels.

Over the period of the course, I became friends with both of these student. Whenever they had trouble, I became their impromptu art tutor. As it should have been, the professor was much harder on the art students than those taking this course as an elective. The two non-art students I befriended, actually received better grades than me. I came out of the class with a B+.

By the end of the class, these two friends revealed that Art 170 was the hardest class that they had ever taken. They didn't expect how technical the principles of art would be. These two also didn't expect art class to be so labor intensive. Now, this course was five days a week, for two hours a day. In addition to almost non-stop drawing for two hours, there were a number of outside assignments that we had to complete. Along with learning the principles and working with various drawing media, we practiced extreme amounts of repetition.

I challenge everyone to take a professional art course. I'm not talking about a casual one day workshop for just a few hours. I'm talking about a class that stretches ten to fifteen weeks, for one to three hours a day, five days a week. It is important that non-artists see, not only how much goes into the learning of art, but where art is used throughout daily life. This piece may only touch upon visual arts, but all arts are vitally important to everyday life.

I hope everyone will take the time to look at everything around them. From the clothes you wear, to your computer or tablet, your car, your furniture, to every man-made material around you, someone designed it. And their training most likely started in a course like Art 170...

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