I thought I would try and share my idea about possible cuts in art education. It’s along the lines of the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil images. In this case the image is of a school child. Maybe with one eye peeping out. Covering his head are the hands of other children, stopping him seeing art equipment, or hearing music or poetry. Stopping him speaking things like lines from plays or novels.
Art and creativity are so important to the world. Maybe you can push a button and get a car design? Maybe not. At the moment it still takes the efforts of designers, artists, illustrators, musicians, and much more to bring out the creativity of the world.
What are we doing if we consider removing Art from the curriculum? If we make it just the perogative of the rich? What happens if normal, ordinary people aren’t taught to have a critical eye, to have the ability to see beauty. I see a world which is almost turning into a 1984 situation. Dumbed down and quiescent?
Today one of the choirs I am in sang at a local school for “sing up day”. We sang some a capella songs from Loud Mouth Women’s reportoir and also “New light ” a new anthem based on “this little light of mine” composed and written by Greg Stephens and Steven Seabridge (the potteries poet laureate).
It was a pleasure to sing infront of a full school assembly. The children joined in and even did some of the gestures for the song. I hope they enjoyed it, although some of the little ones seemed a bit perplexed by what we were doing at first.
One of the teachers is a member of the choir and enthusiastically explained what we were doing, and Penny Vincent (who helped organised Stoke Sings choir festival in February) and Kate Bardfield, our choir leader, helped teach the children some of the song including sections of”this little light of mine” and adapted versions of this and a section about the six towns, Burslem, Tunstall, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton.
The anthem talks about coal mining and hard clay. It talks about regeneration and a feeling that the city of Stoke-on-Trent is worth fighting for. It was a very enjoyable occasion.
The old school walls were damp and the paint was peeling off them. There were holes where ceiling tiles had fallen down and sunshine had broken through the roof.
She walked between discarded chairs, the tables were stacked against the walls. At the front of the classroom stood one of those rotating chalkboards. Grey with layers of chalk.
She reached out and pulled on the join between the boards but the thing was jammed up, no movement.
She remembered the first day she had taught here. Registration followed by the history of the celts. Teaching about Boudicca and the ancient Britons.
Nowadays children didn’t come to school. They were all home schooled, isolated, plugged in. Teaching was easy. Link to the local computer by an imput in the cranium. Download all the information, sit in a chair and learn the curriculum.
She remembered the sweet feeling of imparting knowledge The look of wonder when a pupil understood a new concept. Ideas flying from lips to ears to brains.
No more, no enthusiasm, just imput, data, no fun.
She sighed, closed the door to the classroom. She walked home.