Ask any high school Art teacher and they will tell you that sometimes art classes are dangerous places to be! That’s a scary thought in our current world of risk assessments and duty of care but luckily I’m not talking about danger to the students or even the teachers. Instead I’m talking about the most dangerous thing of all – ideas.
An Art classroom is not simply a place where the technical skills of painting, drawing, photography, ceramics and digital art making are taught. It is also a place where these skills are employed to express ideas, interrogate the world, formulate self-identity and to challenge assumptions. In fact, if you scratch the surface of any great artwork you’ll find more than just pigment … but rather, a battlefield of politics, religion, philosophy, history and culture.
Not every single artwork manages to rise to this lofty goal, but that’s okay. After all, if you are serious about creativity then you have to abandon the safe formula for success and be prepared to take risks. A good teacher helps their students to value the lessons learned through the trials of experimentation and to understand the way in which the journey shapes the outcome. You need to prepare students for tragedies as well as triumphs. It’s what makes the final victory worthwhile.
Why is this relevant for teenage boys? Well, it’s relevant to all of us, but it’s particularly relevant for teenagers because we find them poised on the brink of adulthood.
Society expects boys to step out from their protected existence in childhood and develop their own independent self-identity – a process that can lead to conflict and challenge. At Trinity Grammar School, Sydney, we take the creative arts seriously. The Art classroom provides a place where boys can learn to develop their own unique voice and express who they are. It is a place where they can learn to be critical and receptive, passionate and patient, confident and aware.
To learn more about the ways our students engage with the arts watch our Festival of the Arts video here.