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The importance of incorporating art into a child’s education

By Carly Shaia

Special to The Farmville Herald

Children have a tenacity to be passionate about something on a weekly basis. Sometimes these passions change with the frequency of how many YouTube videos a toddler can view in an hour on grandma’s iPad. However, these passions are frequently encouraged by the child’s parents to allow the child to grow intellectually, emotionally and socially.

One passion that many children adapt at a young age, but may lose as they grow older, is the ability to think imaginatively and create art. Art for children can be drawing, crafting, painting, pottery or for some adolescents anything that involves using messy Elmer’s glue on the kitchen table.

Last month, the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA), launched its annual Youth Art Exhibition. James Early, the community engagement coordinator at the LCVA, said in a press release, “This is the 15th year the LCVA has organized and hosted the largest youth art exhibition in the commonwealth of Virginia.”

Large exhibitions and galleries like this are purposed to encourage art in the community, especially with the exhibition containing work from 908 students from Prince Edward County Elementary School as well as over 1,500 pieces of art from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade featured from over 40 schools.

Stained smocks await their next artist to begin creating a masterpiece at Red Door 104 art studio.

Stained smocks await their next artist to begin creating a masterpiece at Red Door 104 art studio.

Audrey Sullivan, founder and owner of Red Door 104 in downtown Farmville, said that one of the hardest parts about keeping children involved in art is “people trying to make time for art (in their schedule).”

On top of finding time, it can be difficult for many parents and students to find extra money for the arts.

“Our prices are lower than any other art school in the state of Virginia,” said Sullivan.

To combat the financial burden of art, Red Door 104 started a scholarship fund to give those students an opportunity to work on art without worrying about the financial aspect.

In a previous interview Early said, “When you study art, you study what it means to be human.”

Finding ways to incorporate art in one’s day can also be a method of helping students learn about other subjects through art.

“Art is everywhere,” said Sullivan. By incorporating other fields of study into artistic programing, Sullivan is able to capture a broader group of children while still allowing them to learn about art as well as other subjects. “This month is global art, studying art from different countries,” said Sullivan. Red Door 104 and the LCVA include a variety of different subjects in their classes and workshops, such as languages, sociology and history.

“I think if more teachers did this … they could connect (the arts) as an important part of a child’s education,” said Sullivan. “If I can hear one person say … ‘I get it’ … that makes the whole evening worth it.”

Both Red Door 104 and the LCVA are offering art classes for children. Contact Red Door 104 at (434) 392-1405 or the the LCVA at (434) 395-2206 for more information for summer activities for all ages from toddlers to teens.