Art in School - Why It Matters
Anna, Year 13, YCIS Shanghai Century Park Campus
IB Art at YCIS Shanghai has taught me that art is not just about making something that looks pretty or having the technical skill to paint photorealistic flowers; quite frankly, those skills have become somewhat redundant with the advancement of image-capture technology in the 21st Century. It’s about communication. Just as analyzing literature teaches us skills to become better, more articulate communicators through language, understanding how to both convey a message through a variety of mediums and, perhaps even more importantly, how to perceive the meaning in the work of others makes us better critical thinkers and more empathetic and thoughtful people.
This became apparent to me as I studied Pop Art; I used to dislike Andy Warhol's iconic 32 Campbell's Soup Cans, but as I came to understand how his work, which explores the way mass production allows everyone, rich and poor, to appreciate the same simple, good things such as soup or a can of Coke, I began to appreciate that there can be meaning and value in even the most mundane, initially unimpressive things. In my work I've loved finding ways to incorporate my personal, kitschy interests – film, television, food, pop culture – into a traditional portfolio, exploring the theme of 'Stories': how we tell them, why they matter, and how to use them in art and in life to understand one another.
Not many people can become famous actors or authors or artists, but art in school matters because regardless of what a student aspires to become, the study of art gives us the invaluable ability to engage sensitively and insightfully with our work and with the complex world around us.