NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Art education organizations work daily to keep the arts alive in Texas schools, emphasizing how the arts can influence decision making, problem solving, and achievement.
East Texas News visited an art workshop with 25 art teachers from East Texas. Their goal is to show how art can make a difference in their students' lives.
Figure drawing is the exercise, but past president of Texas Art Education Association and Stephen F. Austin State University alumna Cheryl Evans sneaks in life lessons.
"You are collaborating," Evans said. "You are building community."
Evans then questions how the artists are feeling about their drawings.
"Feeling a challenge. Feeling a challenge," Evans said. "Norma? Joy! Joy, my gosh that's what we want to have kids do."
Art educators of grades K-12 are learning new techniques that can unlock skills in the art studio to the corporate board room.
"We teach decision making, and we set up lessons so the kids actively have to make choices," Evans said.
"Absolutely. Art is about finding problems and solving problems and not all education has that opportunity there," said Dr. Bill Nieberding.
Pinetree ISD art teacher Wayne Gaddis faces a problem.
"We're being cut all the way across the board," Gaddis said. Everybody is being cut 20 percent."
However, he's already thinking of cost effective ways to introduce a new sculpture program.
I'm trying to find out ways to do things with wire and cardboard and things that are found objects that we can use that makes it a little simpler," Gaddis said.
Texas Art Education Association funded a big part of the weekend workshop. It promotes that visual arts are essential in human development. Decision makers are hearing the message according to Region 4 director Sandra Newton.
"Art programs are thriving," Newton said. "I think administrators and the public understand the importance of the arts."
When these art educators head back to the classroom, they may develop budding artists, but also see to it critical and creative thinkers are in the mix.
The art educators are collaboratively producing a traveling art exhibit. It opens Sunday in The Cole Art Center at The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches. A public reception is from 3 to 4:30 p.m. It will travel to Tyler and Houston and conclude at Galveston's Moody Gardens.