Reasons for artistic education

Laboral launches the first Call for the production of an educational tool as part of its programme “Mecenazgo expandido”

Published: Apr 27, 2015
Reasons for artistic education

Work performed by students of IES Tierrablanca de La Zarza (Badajoz)

By Montaña Hurtado (@zapatosrosas,

Over the last days I have been reading a lot on artistic education and how introducing it in the educational context (both formal and non-formal) can have very beneficial effects for the society. Even though this topic has always interested me, I had never had the chance to analyse it in depth and I admit the with each article and report that appeared on my computer's screen I grew more and more concerned for the lack of artistic education in our country. In fact, with the new educational reform, theses subjects will become optional, as they “distract from the other subjects”.

UNESCO supports artistic education with programmes developed in collaboration with the educational industry and based on the principle that “creativity is a key element in human nature and an essential feature of human intellect and feelings”. Emotional intelligence, according to these programmes, is essential for every one to structure and build his/her own criteria while fostering citizenship. UNESCO's Artistic Education and Creativity Programme was drafted after the principles of the report “Learning: The treasure within” (1996), that called for the educational system to be reinforced bearing in mind creativity and artistic education, including plastic arts, visual arts, stage arts, dance, music and literature.

Kaori Iwai, in her article “The contribution of arts education to children's lives”, analyses several experiences carried out in different locations around the world, whose results prove that arts education fosters experimental learning based on discovery. In addition, it states that “When art is properly combined with other subjects, students understand and assimilate more knowledge about the topic in question” and that art education contributes to the development at the following levels:

  • aesthetic, as they improve the appraisal of arts by children

  • social and emotional, as they improve self-esteem and self-acceptance and they support positive attitudes such as motivation

  • social and cultural, as they foster interpersonal relationships and team work and they convey values like tolerance

  • cognitive, as they improve spatial intelligence, verbal expression, linguistic competences and reading comprehension.

Nevertheless, all these programmes, studies and articles discuss thoroughly the creativity of students but the creativity of teachers pointed out by María Acaso is hardly covered, and the creativity of those who design educational law is not even mentioned. Perhaps, the first step to change the system is to be aware that all artistic teachings can add something to our educational system and listen to those that are calling for more presence in the school curriculum.


AuLAB, Innovation programme educative in LABoral Centro de Arte

Artistic subjects must have specific weight in schools, not only having their own entity, but also being included in a cross-cutting manner in other subjects, for, quoting María Ascaso again, a child must know mathematics as he/she needs to be able to analyse images” and, in particular, current, contemporary images. This is not only about having creative teachers, but also being aware of all that contemporary artists can offer and, especially, those whose work draws on educational bases.

In order to fight this situation, there are leisure and non-formal education activities that boost creativity and the development of artistic skills of children and teens. The role of museums is essential for developing educational programmes for children and families and teacher training programmes, but it is also important to raise awareness in this sector about the importance of arts education and having a stable work team made up by professionals of this field instead of interns and volunteers working for a few months because, quoting Aitziber Urtasun: “Education (not necessarily in art) is a long-term investment, a long-distance race where daily training and practice is needed to get a strong and quality structure”.

Theater camp (Escuela Papirola)

In this sense, and just a few days ago, LABoral launched a call for the production of an educational tool addressed to artists and collectives that work in contemporaneity, pedagogy and new technologies. The call is aimed at introducing teachers and students into contemporary art practices as a resource for working with the school curriculum, awakening the interest for contemporary art, boosting creativity and fostering critical thinking.

This call, funded with €10.000 for production and fees, and €1.500 for travel expenses, is part of the programme Mecenazo Expandido, a pioneer experience for supporting artistic creation in public venues started this year by LABoral, directed by Alicia Ventura and funded by several private collectors.

The educational tool selected by the jury will be developed in collaboration with the Asturian educational community, during two residency periods at LABoral, and it must be collaborative and open, so that it can be improved, adapted and used in contexts of scarce resources.

The deadline for submitting projects is June 12.

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