ISB Visual Arts Promotes Choice and Direction

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( — October 7, 2019) Beijing, Beijing —

There are cognitive advantages that come from having an art education such as higher academic achievement, creativity, imagination, self-expression and stimulation of the mind according to Steven A. Melnick et al. in their journal article “Cognition and Student Learning through the Arts”.

And developing these aspects of students is exactly what is interwoven in each of ISB’s programs – including Visual Arts. 

“When students learn about and explore art making practices, using both traditional and contemporary tools, they develop the abilities necessary for self-expression and determination in the technology-driven 21st century culture,” outlines ISB’s Philosophy Statement for the Visual Arts program. “They discover the joy and pride of being authentically creative and are initiated into a variety of ways of perceiving and contemplating the world around them.”

Northcott has worked in the Visual Arts department at ISB for seven years and has seen how great an impact the program has on students. 

“I continue to be amazed at what our students create,” said Northcott who went on to describe how they are especially inspired by visiting artists-in-residence, such as storyboard animator Marty Cooper

The work done in the classroom is something students see as allowing them to use their intelligence in unique ways. 

“Visual arts challenges our creativity allowing us to come up with new ideas,” said one of Northcott’s students. 

Inspiring Students to Focus on Exploration Over Perfection

Adopting the National Arts Standards, ISB’s Middle School Visual Arts program allows students to choose between a wide range of art and design offerings. 

There are also studio classes that give students the opportunity to develop their foundational skills while also maintaining the freedom to create individual pieces that demonstrate artistic thinking and processes. 

The 75-minute art classes last a semester-long and students have them every other day, giving them the time they need to create something beautiful. 

“We offer the flexibility for student choice and student direction in addition to traditional project work,” Northcott said. “Plus, the additional art enrichment classes provide great opportunities for the kids to enhance their skills.”

The enrichment classes give students the opportunity to take unique art classes in ceramics, drawing, painting and graffiti.

But what Northcott expresses as the goal of the program, is for students to forget the idea of perfection. 

“When I am leading Middle School students, I stress the importance of exploration, making mistakes and trying to come up with unique visual solutions to their creative problems,” Northcott said. “The goal is to become comfortable taking risks and exploration.”

Ridding of the idea of perfection, students are able to explore their creativity.

In the words of one of his students, “Visual Arts gives me an opportunity to demonstrate visually my hobbies in different ways.”

Find out more about the ISB Visual Arts program. 

( — October 7, 2019) Beijing, Beijing —

International School of Beijing

10 An Hua Street
Shunyi District
Beijing, Beijing 101318