3. What types of skills are important for creating art in the 21st century?

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    Many schools are cutting back on teaching drawing and other art skills, as well as eliminating crafts like ceramics or fiber arts, even at places with long-standing traditions in these areas. As a result, many students organize their own drawing classes or emerge from graduate school with few art skills. What types of skills are important for creating art in the 21st century; also, how can the teaching of traditional art skills be part of the curriculum given contemporary media like installation, performance, and video art along with fast-changing technology? #JCskills


    I think all graphic-design majors or photography majors should definitely be required to take hands on courses, as art skills are like muscles and they need to be stretched in multiple ways in order to remain strong. But I also think people forget about the necessity that drawing and painting majors take those graphic-design and photography courses, at least introduction ones. In this time and age, you need to be well-rounded in developing mediums as well, and be prepared for the coming art world as best you can. It’s as important as staying up to date with modern science or history.

    Beth Clayton

    Problem solving, critical thinking, and adaptability.


    Contemporary art differs from art of previous eras because the most notorious artists are the ones who stand out from the crowd and use unconventional techniques, mediums and concepts. An artist in the 21st century should have a strong sense of identity and the confidence to dive into their work head first. They should also have knowledge of techniques and art history.


    I think it is important to know art history and the basics for contemporary drawing. I also think that we should know what specific skills are called and how to preform them. I think there should be classes for students to get hands on action while teaching about art history before completing an art piece. In my high school and in college there are a wide range of classes that we can pick from. There are so many different ways to create art and I think it is better to give people options about what they want to learn. It’s nice to have a choice in what we do in our everyday lives. We are also a very technological based society and I think there should be more opportunities to learn how to create art on the computers and technologic devices. Skill wise people should know art history and be able to perform any skill of art on paper. People also have to be technological savvy and know how to compute skills from paper to a technological device. I think it is also important to know what is trending because skills and concepts are constantly changing. It’s also important to know what skills are popular and what other artists are currently up to. It is imperative that people are able to express artwork in any form. Whether its theatrical, music, murals, dance, sculpture, painting, etc. Skills such as techniques and the foundations are important in any art form. From the basic ballet positions to the various realism in Roman art, the foundations are important skills to know when endeavoring in any art.


    In elementary school, art was always my favorite class and I had it every year from K-5th grade. I was brought to disappointment when I reached middle school and budget cuts made art classes only accessible to eighth grade students. Once I got to high school, one teacher only taught art classes and most students got into the class based off seniority. It is such a shame that art classes have been getting cut at such a young age. Currently in 2015, most elementary schools stopped offering art classes. Art provides students starting at a young age to draw, craft, analyze, and show their own creativity and personality. Art in the 21st century, emerges a variety of things such as the latest electronic technologies, paintings, new concepts of handcrafts, mix media, etc. The teaching of art is a form of educating history of techniques and strategies of previous artist as well as developing new techniques. Art requires skills of creative thinking, patience, open-mindedness, technique, and hand motions. Art is very important for all humans to be educated on.


    To create art in the 21st century, you must be good at questioning things around you. I believe that art made today is the result of a person wondering and asking about an aspect of life that they notice. Interactive performances often hold a mirror to society and are the way an artist can make viewers and participants question their own actions. Along with being able to call out and question things, artists today must be able to seek help or guidance to master a skill. We are in an in-between time period where people are creating works of art with amazing technology, but that technology is not always being taught in art classrooms. Whether it is the issue of having access or an administration not seeing technology as an artistic medium, it’s often hard for students to learn how to use digital mediums to make art at school. Instead, they become resourceful by finding free tutorials and websites that explain software and programs. They teach themselves and find the means to fulfill their visions. If art educators, specifically in K-12, were to be persistent about including digital arts into their curriculum, even by allowing a student to lead a lesson, it would benefit the program and the students. These children could even combine the old forms of art making with the new; merging textile art with 3D printing, or oil painting with digital animation. The possibilities are endless, and if young artists today did not have to always struggle to teach themselves or struggle to gain access, more artists would emerge from the 21st century!

    Caroline Coady

    One important skill necessary to create art in the 21st century is keeping an open mind. With art classes in certain areas dwindling, less resources are available. Someone might think that without pencils or charcoal, how are they supposed to learn to draw? Using pen is an option, but what if they mess up? Keeping an open mind would remind these learners that messing up is ok, and it will continue to happen as you go. Constraining your thoughts to believing that you can only learn to draw with a temporary material will only hold you back. Not being able to erase has no effect on the skill you’re building while you practice.

    Another skill that is important for creating art in the 21st century is having people to go to for help or collaboration. It’s hard when you’re stuck with an idea you aren’t entirely pleased with, and sometimes a second opinion or a gentle push is all you need to take your idea up 10 notches. Socializing whilst creating is important for the spread of ideas, whether they’re ideas for what you want to create or ideas for how you will create it.


    In order to develop these skills, young students need the choice of elective in middle and high school. I feel as though students become disinterested in art when they’re offered one choice or none at all. An artist who is going to develop fine art skills without the full support of a k-12 education rich in the arts as their foundation are going to have to get ambitious and creative. I don’t think formal knowledge of art history is necessary to be successful as a “well-rounded artist.” I think you have to be curious yet critical to seek resources out where you can. It’s important to seek others to collaborate with and discuss your work’s concepts with. I don’t believe traditional art practices are on their way out the window quite yet though. If anything, schools would be less likely to have the money to fund computer-based art programs and will continue to offer more traditional options. It’s just a question of what they whittle these down to.

    caroline grace

    Although some may assume that the 21st Century Artist has an advantage over the Artist of an earlier time, I believe that it is a very complicated world today, especially for the Artist. Although technology allows an artists work to be more accessible to a larger audience, this also means that there is more judgement, and the access to learning about the judgment is greater as well. The 21st Century artist must be open-minded and accepting. The artist must have social skills and be willing to present themselves in scenarios where they may feel uncomfortable, unsure and sometimes even threatened. The 21st century artist must also have a unique sense of creativity. It is so easy to compare your work to the work of others when it is all visually accessible at the tip of your fingers.


    While many schools and educational systems are pushing our learners more towards technology and STEM, I do feel that being hands on with materials and projects is something that should not be phased out entirely. With that being said, I do utilize technology in my classroom and with distance learning being our current reality I do not knock its importance. I feel that students are able to explore more in a hands on environment (such as an art class) and are able to learn by playing with materials, making mistakes, and then trying out a different path. Some students do not learn well with a computer screen, and that is something that the educational system must take into account as well as we move forward.


    I absolutely agree with you. When I was in college, even our more computer based artists had to take foundational arts classes. I feel like having that base helps us learn and think more as artists. Also, even if they are focusing more on photography or graphic design, there are art elements that come into play in both of those fields (such as composition, emphasis, etc.) These topics are things that are covered in any foundational art class.

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