Monday, March 2, 2015

INDIANA Youth Art Month Celebration 2015

Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.” George Washington Carver

Suzanne Whitton and colleague Dacia set up boards on Saturday morning before the big event!

Sidney Allen with help of a friend secures art exhibition boards on Saturday morning.

Superintendent of Public Education Glenda Ritz arrives Sunday morning to assess 180 art works.
Students depict Velazquez great painting, "Los Meninas."

Suzanne Whitton introduces AEAI President Jill Sayers.
Students and parents examine high school art.
Students take group photographs with Supt. Ritz.

Crowd enjoys student art and refreshments in the South Atrium of the Indiana State Capitol Building.

Art enthusiasts enjoy the exhibit!

YAM Chair and 2013 Indiana Teacher of the Year Suzanne Whitton discusses program details with AEAI President Elect Mary Sorrels and AEAI President Jill Sayers.

Remarks to YAM attendees and introduction of Indiana Supt. of Public Education Glenda Ritz: 

The Art Education Association of Indiana would like to thank you all for coming out today!

Celebrating learning in the arts is one of the most important things communities can do to encourage their youngest citizen’s educational success.

I’d like to share with you a story about a great American.

This American was born into slavery during the Civil War in the state of Missouri.

When George Washington Carver was a baby boy, he and his mother were kidnapped by Confederate raiders.

He survived this tragedy, but his mother was never seen nor heard from again.

As a young boy, this great American was at risk to live a short, cruel and harsh life.

Fortunately, Carver’s adopted family encouraged his natural inclinations for creativity. After completing his chores on the farm where he lived the young boy took walks through the South West Missouri countryside.

Young Carver collected all kinds of plants and other objects from nature.

He often made drawings of his plants and he became very good at painting.

Drawing and painting was an activity that fueled the young man’s intellect and his love of learning and he amazed his community with his art and his scientific understanding of plants.

He was encouraged to pursue higher learning and enrolled in the art and music program at Simpson College. Carver’s art teacher, Miss Etta Budd, recognized this great American’s artistic genius but also realized his contributions to science might be even more significant. She encouraged him to attend Iowa State University where he studied agriculture and botany and would later go on to direct the science department at the world famous Tuskeegee Institute.

George Washington Carver’s work has been impacting American culture for more than a century.  Among his many discoveries and scientific innovations including the invention of peanut butter and hundreds of uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes and other plants, Carver became one of the first pioneers of genetic engineering.

On the development of the mind Carver said: Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.”

What can we learn from George Washington Carver’s extraordinary life? Carver experienced the power of the arts. As a young child, he became very knowledgeable in the science of plants and developed a powerful intellect through the fine arts.

We learn that nurturing that which is distinctive in young children is essential to their intellectual development. Art making has immense psycho-dynamic power to imbue in children the attributes of imagination, observation, intellect and perception that will serve them well into their adulthood.

Think about it.

The only subject in school besides music that is a bonafide medical therapy is art. Art is powerful stuff. Art is science! 95% of the World’s top STEM professionals all have fine arts backgrounds. Art education is a good thing!
Unfortunately, I leave you today with sad news. Throughout our state, we have witnessed art programs cut and creativity development reduced in our public schools. High quality art programs are at risk across this state. Real dollars reaching Indiana classrooms have declined since 2002 by at least 20%.

Our next speaker understands the importance of the arts in the lives of children. In 2011, she ran for Indiana State Superintendent because she saw arts education at risk across the state.

She understood that no one can predict how far an individual child may go in a dynamic school system when understanding educators, using all the resources of the community, including fine arts programs, awakens a child’s imagination and interest, thus releasing the secret ingredient of learning, emotional drive.

Ladies and Gentleman, it is my pleasure to introduce to you our Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz!

Glenda Ritz addresses the crowd on the importance of creativity and art education in the lives of children.