For various reasons, arts education is crucial for kids and teenagers. According to studies, learning creative topics like art, music, and drama improves students’ achievement in other academic courses. But the skills also have a wealth of additional advantages on their own. These include strengthening self-assurance, encouraging self-expression and imagination, fostering emotional growth, and enhancing attention while reducing stress, anxiety, and sadness.
21K School is pleased to welcome a new art instructor to the team for the next school year. Cassandra Harrison, an incredibly gifted artist from Edinburgh, originally from Nebraska, creates brilliant, colorful compositions utilizing various textiles, paint, line, and graphics. She uses the lovely city of Edinburgh as her inspiration for many of her works, focusing on cityscapes and architecture, both of which are her passions.
What first inspired Cassandra to pursue a career in producing and selling art?
Cassandra has always enjoyed creating art. When she was eight years old, she drew a pair of shoes that her father had raved about. It was the first time they realized she was good at drawing. She decided to pursue a career in painting in first grade. She had no more access to art at the time except for what she found in picture books for kids. When she looked at it, she was sure she wanted to create those images. She then attended Liberal Arts College to study fine painting and art education. It’s strange because it seems like something she didn’t deliberately choose. There was never another choice available.
Have there been any standouts or favorite moments over the ages?
There have been a few bright spots, frequently at the expense of having learned a challenging lesson. Cassandra has learned to keep going despite setbacks. She wouldn’t have had the chance to come her way if she hadn’t done that. One memorable experience was submitting a piece of art to the Royal Academy in London. Three pieces have been chosen as finalists so far, which is impressive in and of itself. The Scottish Royal Academy has hosted five exhibits, including her work. Her writing got included in a book this year. Cassandra visited the United States with an art installation ten years ago after traveling the entire United Kingdom. She was incredibly uncomfortable after that, but it was worthwhile.
Why does she think art is essential, and what inspired her to become a teacher?
Her initial course of study for the degree was graphic design. After almost finishing it, she realised she disliked using computers to create art. Cassandra has been a volunteer teacher at an Omaha Housing Estate since she has always enjoyed being around kids. She continued with her Fine Arts degree while switching her major to Art Education. She knows how much fun it is to lose oneself in making art. What Cassandra had initially thought to be a somewhat dull subject—art history—quickly came to life while she was studying it.
It was interesting for her to learn about the artists’ vivid backgrounds and what was going on in the world surrounding them. People and children alike enjoy stories. She believes art can teach people a lot about themselves and their world. Through their artwork, people can learn about various civilizations. These narratives are crucial for developing empathy, comprehending others, and discovering one own self.
As one concentrates solely on one item while doing art, the mind is quieted and allows the person to focus. This is similar to the technique of meditation. Giving kids the tools they need to handle materials is one of her favorite aspects of art instruction. Children going through a difficult moment or who believe their talents are not in academics frequently find their place in the world via art.
How does a teacher inspire students who are often disheartened or who doubt their artistic abilities?
Teachers begin by using “Will Try” rather than “Can’t.” Anyone will give this new endeavor a shot. This is a playful activity that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Researchers are experimenting with the materials, working out with a variety of things, beginning over. But all of this is with papers and not computers. Some kids don’t enjoy painting or find it simple.
The phrase “can’t” is a barrier. Thus it’s crucial to get around it, knock it down, scale it, or do whatever else is necessary to overcome it. Instead of using a negative word like “can’t,” kids can surely use inspiring words like “will try” and avoid doubting their artistic abilities.