Arts Education Improves Problem-Solving Skills

Exposure to art makes you smart.

That’s what the prestigious Guggenheim museum will reveal today and tomorrow at their conference, Thinking Like an Artist: Creativity and Problem Solving in the Classroom.

“During this conference, the Guggenheim will present key findings from The Art of Problem Solving, a four-year research initiative that evaluated the impact of its pioneering arts education program Learning Through Art on students’ problem-solving abilities and creativity.”

The study showed - no surprise here – that students involved in the Learning Through Art program “scored higher in three out of the six skills of problem solving.”  They were more flexible, more able to connect ends and aims (the ability to reflect on whether one’s final project met the intended goals), and had greater resource recognition.

“With this study of the Learning Through Art program, we are pleased to demonstrate that arts education helps develop the skills necessary to persistently and adaptively work through problems,” said Kim Kanatani, Director of Education at the Guggenheim Foundation.  Hear that, public school administrators?  If you want your students to excel at math and science, you need to expose them to art and music, too.  Of course, this is not a new concept.

According to a press release, “Learning Through Art was founded in 1970 by Natalie K. Lieberman in response to the elimination of art and music programs in New York City public schools. Since its inception, LTA has served more than 145,000 children and has placed hundreds of professional teaching artists in New York City public elementary schools where they collaborate with classroom teachers to lead curriculum-based art projects.”

The program culminates in the annual A Year with Children exhibition at the Guggenheim, on view through June 20.  Over 120 works by students in grades two through six from ten NYC public schools are currently on display.

Upcoming educator workshops at the museum include:

Teaching for Creativity
Thursday, June 10, 9 am—3pm

Through hands-on art making and group discussion, participants will learn strategies for planning and teaching art-based projects that promote the development of students’ problem-solving skills. Teachers of grades two through twelve in all subject areas are welcome to register. Registration is $20. For more information, or to learn about year-round opportunities for educators in all curriculum areas to learn creative strategies for incorporating visual arts in the classroom, call 212-423-3637.

Photo: Learning Through Art

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