Cabot k-12 art students will be assessed on their development of 8 artistic behaviors called the "Studio Habits of Mind." These behaviors are a framework for thinking about the outcomes of art education and have been developed by Lois Hetland and her colleagues at Harvard University. These habits are:
Artists see possibility. They make connections between what they know and what they want to know. Artists imagine creative acts and then set about to act on those visions. Artists plan, sketch and think through multiple options and make self-directed choices.
Artists need to develop skills by understanding how to use materials and tools, this is called technique. They also need to learn how to care for these tools. Artists also learn art concepts like the principals and elements of design that they apply to their work to achieve desired outcomes.
Engage and Persist
An artist is a problem solver and a problem finder. These problems are not always straight forward and there are many pathways to a finished product. Artists often find that their mistakes lead to new creative discoveries and expressions. Or sometimes in the search to communicate an originally envisioned idea, the idea is stretched and turned inside out so much so, that original nugget of inspiration that began the artistic process is no longer applicable. An engaged artist is a self-motivated artist who has intrinsic curiosity. This often requires persistence and patience while the artist works through a myriad of possibilities.
Artists draw inspiration from their life experiences and the larger world around them. Artists communicate when they make art. Their communication may be about ideas, stories or feelings. An example of an artwork about an idea might be an abstract painting that stretches the artist's ability to understand and apply design and technique. Or an artist might be a conceptual artist and the artwork has everything to do with an idea and less importance may be (but not always) placed on technique. Early examples of this kind of work can be found in the early 20th century by a group of artists who called themselves Dadaists. The dadaists had survived the atrocious first world war in Europe and were critics of the status quo. They produced non-sensical art in defiance to the norms of the art world at the time. Other artists make work that expresses a personal narrative. As they draw from their experiences, they communicate in ways can be relatable, informative and/or challenging for the viewer.
Artists are keen observers and their observations are a method in which the artist develops their techniques and their ideas. Artists observe the interconnectedness of objects. They may envision the internal structure in the human that they are drawing, so that they may better draw the twist of a baseball player's swing. They may reflect on a patch of light and compose an evocative photograph that tells a story without words.
An artist reflects upon their process during the making process and after the making process. These reflections during the process guide the artist through their decision making. An artist starts with an idea, but throughout the process they must reevaluate their progress and consider the next best step. In the end the artist must learn to discuss their art. In our class, we will do art shares and Cabot artists will learn vocabulary to help them discuss their intensions and outcomes. Reflection is what makes artists capable of improvement and growth, which ideally leads to excellence.
Stretch and Explore
Play is fundamental to creative thought. When artists stretch and explore they are allowing themselves to freely engage in their process. Mistakes are part of the process and a mistake leads an artist to a deeper understanding of the material they were using or the idea they were exploring. Artists take risks and are curious to see if their envisioned idea is possible. Through their own curiosity, they discover and deepen their abilities and understanding of their artistic process. Authentic artistic process engages the artist in the same way play engages people. It isn't always easy, but it is a valuable way of being in the world.
Understand the art world
Viewing a work of art in a museum in person can have leave a profound imprint on your memory. When you are really engaged in your viewing, you will notice that the art acts as a filter of knowledge. I recall seeing a painting of Napoleon's coronation by Jacque Louis David. The painting was so enormous that it felt as if you were standing in the room where the coronation occurred. The details in the costumes and the pageantry of the event captured my imagination in a deeply memorable way and made history come alive. The image showed just how powerful and wealthy Napoleon was at the time it was painted. Today, contemporary art, which is as diverse as the artists who make it, repurposes everyday materials and/or deconstructs traditional media in ways that allow viewers to reflect critically on our contemporary world. The choice of material, the placement of the work, the social context in which the work was made, or the influences on the artist, all come into play and communicate the artist's understanding of their communities and their experiences.