Gendered Perception of Art Education

Gendered Perception of Arts Education

Why we believe it’s important… to both boys and girls

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Winter term 2019 has officially ended, and come Monday we are onto Spring term 2019 -the last term of this school year. As we reflect on our year so far, the team of CCSA has some thoughts on the gender binary in parent's perception of Art Education.

As a relatively new business, our school is still very much growing every term with new students. However, even in the past two years that we have been operating, we are already seeing a persistent pattern of perception in the parents of our local community. We see it again and again in interested parties, casual by-passers, phone inquiries, and more -This insidious notion that art classes are for girls, not boys. Comments we hear: "Yes, we could sign our son up but... Boys have to run around" or "they don't like sitting still, they have to be active" or "they like playing soccer more..."And, of course, the parents know their children well, I'm sure! The parents are right -their child has their own disposition and preference. However we suspect something more is at play here as they have no problem with their female child participate or even simply try it out. Our current parents are fantastic -we have many brilliant boys who come time after time to indulge in the joy of creation, and we’re grateful for those.

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What we wish, on the other hand, is for all parents to understand is that being artistic, being creative, is not inherently feminine. Boys are also amazingly artistic, creative, aesthetically acute, and endlessly curious. Please do not impose to your children any particular preconceived notion on how they should behave and what they should like to do because they are boys or girls. There are many aspects of art education that can benefit both genders. Arts education has proven to be beneficial in many critical ways. Improving student's mental health, self-confidence, natural enhancement of their creativity -these are all things that children of ALL gender can benefit from. Art doesn't just mean painting and sculpting either, it includes music, performing, and more! We also offer many classes that are not what you may say "girly" such as architecture, animation, cartooning, and more. These classes will truly help all children to foster an innovative mindset that is crucial these days and come with strong technological education along aside it.

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And we are very blessed to have the many brilliant boys in our art school, taking classes like Painting, Drawing, Architecture, Animation, Sculpting, and more. We are very grateful to have them. But the fact remains that the proportion of our female students to our male students is jarring. I hope those who read this can try to live by this new notion of art education. Say it out loud and let it live in your mind: "Being artistic and creative is not gender-based, and it will help our children be innovative thinkers." Let your child experience the joy of creation and help them foster strong social and emotional intelligence.

We sincerely thank you for taking your time to read it. We have been discussing this issue quite a bit among ourselves. Our hope isn’t to gain more boys to be our students, but merely to remind the parents that regardless of their gender, children need to practice being creative for their own sake. Our hope is to perhaps help the parents see the importance of art education which will then trickle down to their children. On that note, let’s get this Spring Term 2019 started!

I have left links to many articles that support this finding below if you want to read more on the importance of art in children's education.

(1) https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2190/EM.31.2.EOV.1

(2) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/07/28/why-all-parents-should-care-about-arts-education/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5e8da84426e2

(3) https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/10/04/the-arts-have-much-more-to-teach.html

(4) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/arts-education-new-brunswick-1.4573888?fbclid=IwAR39xMNeuoV7aJgCIbwwXI0-Is4Cy8-UhKyUk9b5gf0bCk4_ZPs0HmbrKP0