Art's influence on kids

Katina Rose • May 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM

By Katina Rose

One of the wonderful things about children is introducing

them to new and exciting things that life has to offer. Children are full of wonderment, open minds

and know how to enjoy the moment for what it is, which is why enjoying the

experiences of the fine arts can be so much fun for everyone involved.

It is never too early, or too late, to expose children to

the various art forms. If you have an

infant, play classical music throughout the house. As infants grow into toddlers and early

pre-school ages, there are many art opportunities that open up. Give a child a paintbrush, paint (or even let

them use their hands) and you will experience a masterpiece and many hours of


Preschoolers are especially tuned into music and enjoy singing

songs to learn new things. It will amaze

you at how quickly they can remember lyrics to a song.

According to Kathy Hawk, with Kingsport Art Guild and former

elementary art teacher, age 2 is the perfect time to expose kids to the visual

arts. “This is the “scribbling stage” and usually lasts until the child is four,”

she says. “Just remember to buy age

appropriateness materials made by reputable manufactures with non-toxic and AP

(approved product) seal on them.”

Hawk says the visual arts teach children to be creative

thinkers, curious and more fluent in producing a large number of ideas. It helps them become problem solvers and the arts

stress divergent thinking, she says.

Don’t be afraid to let your child be creative, messy and use

their imagination when exploring the arts.

Set up an area in your home with

a plastic drop cloth under a table where they can work without limitations. It is

important to remember that a child doesn’t need expensive art supplies. They can be creative with scraps of cloth, empty

boxes, buttons, feathers and your basic washable markers.

There are many classes and community organizations/businesses

that offer children an outlet for their artistic ability and will offer

opportunities for them to expand their knowledge. Don’t hesitate to let your child try

different art forms and expose them to different art forms at any age.

While exploring an art gallery, Hawk said, “Ask children to

help you make-up a story about the artwork, guess how the artist created it, why

did they pick the subject they did and what title would you give the artwork.”

“Art is about expressing your thoughts and feelings,” said

Kathleen Buttolph, director of education at Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin

Program for the Arts. “When students participate in theatre, they build

self-confidence and prepare for future public speaking opportunities. It gives them self-assurance and comfort

with their own individual personality traits. We teach them social awareness,

respect and tolerance for all people.

The students become better listeners and observers of the world around


Buttolph recommends starting children in the theatre at the

age of five, but is excited about a new class offered this summer, Theatre for

Tots, which will be offered for one week in June for ages 2-5, as a way to

introduce young children to the basics of the theatre.

Regardless of the age of your child, it is never too late to

enroll in a fine arts class or get out and enjoy the various art forms in our

local community. We are fortunate to

live in an area that gives us, as parents, many choices and opportunities to

show our children how wonderful the world of art can be for the mind, soul, and

complete well being.

There are many local facilities in the Northeast Tennessee

area that offer the opportunity to participate and view fine arts with

children. A few to check out



Barter Theatre in Abingdon


Kingsport Theatre Guild

- KingsportARTS

- Jonesborough Repertory Theatre,

Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the


- Kingsport Symphony

- Renaissance Center’s Main Gallery in


- Downtown Kingsport Association Gallery

- Trinity Art Center in Johnson City offers

a wide array of classes in dance, art,


theatre and language


Local dance schools offer classes to try or

performances to watch (here are a

few of the many dance schools in the


- City

Youth Ballet of Johnson City


Studio Dance in Johnson City


Kingsport Ballet

- Holloway Dance School in Kingsport

- Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia

offers music classes in violin, viola, cello

and piano

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