The splash of color comes to life as senior Natalie Smith, quietly bends over her artwork adding the final details to her abstract painting. She studies it and continues to dab her paint brush into the canvas, slowly breathing life into her masterpiece.
When asked why she enjoys painting, she simply says,
“Drawing and painting have always been relaxing activities that let me inspire and reflect my feelings to others.” “It is through art that I can really be me and feel good about myself by bringing color and creativity to my life”.
In today’s ever changing world, our teenagers are constantly being bombarded with messages from the media and the internet. It’s easy to loose self-confidence when faced with this media mania.
That is why finding positive outlets for teens is extremely crucial during their adolescent years. The arts can be a great way to connect teens to others, to express themselves and to promote problem solving.
Connecting to Others:
During the wonder years, teens are defining who they want to become in the world and at times this can be a hair pulling and frustrating process for the adults around them. Some teenagers purposely choose to be the complete opposite of their parents while others will be drawn to them. Regardless, of their closeness to their families, art can be a great way to connect and communicate with not only themselves but their parents, siblings and peers. Teens want a sense of autonomy and marvel at the independence that comes with doing things on their own however they are desperately seeking ways in which to express and connect to others….art gives our teens this outlet.
As Natalie stated, being involved with the arts gives teens a chance to express themselves and a voice! Essentially, art provides teens an outlet where they can express their feelings, emotions, rant, and say who they are or who they want to become…their future selves. Creative and artistic thinking also allows adolescents to take control of something at a time where they are still being told what to do and how to do it both at home and school. Teenagers crave a sense of freedom and need to make some decisions on their own….again art provides them a release!
Art is a Great Way to Encourage Problem Solving
Art not only allows teens to connect with their inner self and others but it also promotes problem solving.
Paula Atwell author of How to Find Your Inner Artist, believes, the best way to teach your teens how to think is, “interestingly enough, taking art related classes and working on creative art projects is one of the best ways to learn to think “outside the box”. In order to produce art, the artist is required to conceptualize the end result of what they are making. They need to think through what the painting will look like at the end and how to get there.” ” They need to know how the block of wood will look as a bowl, or the clay will look once fired and glazed as a vase. They need to picture a goal in mind, then work town that goal until they achieve it”.
Through drawing, painting, and various other mediums, teens can continue to learn about perspective, geometry, chemistry and many other mathematical and scientific calculations. Problem solving is a fundamental piece to our development and the creation of art lets adolescents make decisions and mistakes with little to no collateral damage. It’s a great way for teens to gain their freedom and create while using their imagination.
How do I support Creativity in My Teen?
A few creative ways to inspire your teens
1. Buy art supplies as a gift
2. Download YouTube “How To Videos”-they have a ton on art, cooking and music lessons.
3. Take your teen to a local museum or art exhibit.
4. Go to a music concert, ballet, orchestra practice or play
5. Take your digital camera out for the day. You and your teen can do a “photo shoot” of the falling snow, your community, animals, flowers or whatever moves your teen…help them find a passion
6. Find a local art contest and join it together
7. Sign a teen up for lessons (art, dance, music, singing)
Remember, art doesn’t have to break the bank, nor does it have to be a solitary activity that a teen does alone. The arts are a great and invaluable way to keep in touch with your teens and showing an interest in what they are doing will go a long way.