Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

The Art of Problem Solving

May 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 344

Convincing people of the importance of an education in the arts can be a tough sell. In 2012, math and science are heralded above all else and the general public still tends to overlook the arts. When a school faces budget cuts - music, visual art and drama are typically the first to go.

The reality is that we are doing our children a great disservice by not immersing them in the arts. More and more studies are proving how children exposed to an arts curriculum demonstrate increased skills in critical thinking when compared to their peers.

Think about it. Why wouldn't an arts education with its focus on creativity, produce young people capable of thinking outside the box? Artists are constantly pushed to explore uncharted territory. The truly great ones are those that produce new and exciting work that has never before been created.

A study conducted by the Guggenheim Museum showed that the child with the arts background has a considerable advantage over her peers. Entitled, The Art of Problem Solving(1), this four-year research initiative was conducted between 2006 and 2010 and evaluated the impact of the educational program, Learning Through Art.

The study showed that children from the Learning Through Art program demonstrated stronger problem solving skills in three out of six areas including "flexibility, resource recognition, and connection of ends and aims". They found that problem solving was incorporated into the students' daily art lessons. Students were encouraged to make conscious choices and find multiple answers to any given problem through the creative process.

Artistic creations themselves are born through the solving of problems. Generally, the "problem" is how to communicate a certain emotion or idea through a piece of art or performance. To create something original you must first identify the problem, break it down, and then develop different ways to approach and learn from it. For example:

When an artist holds a lump of clay, she must work within the constraints of the material to figure out how to mold it into a particular form.

When two dancers are working together, they must problem-solve to figure out how to make a particular partnering section work in the choreography.

When a writer comes up with a story, he must use critical thinking to evolve the story and make it clear and exciting for his readers.

When an actress has a monologue to perform, she must consider how she will express a certain emotion through her voice or mannerisms.

Each artistic endeavor faces some form of challenge in its creation that needs to be overcome. Without even realizing it, kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. That same inventive drive is exactly the skill needed to succeed in the realm of technology and innovation.

So, how can conventional education with its focus on math and standardized tests provide its students with the same skill development? The answer is, it can't. Now I'm not saying that schools don't provide opportunities for children to explore their creativity. The problem is that for the majority of the time, students in this environment are encouraged to come up with one answer, the right one. Young people are not being given enough practice to develop problem-solving skills, because they are so focused on 2 + 2 = 4. As a result, young adults are entering the workforce with under-developed problem-solving skills.

Experience in the arts is therefore not merely desirable, but essential for our children's future success. The arts are building blocks for developing critical thinking in young people so that problems are exciting challenges to be solved, instead of insurmountable road blocks. Clearly, the benefits of the arts extend beyond than just those dedicated to pursuing a career as a musician, dancer, actor or artist. Einstein himself said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

So we must ask ourselves, when are the powers that be going to realize that the arts are crucial to the success of our children?


For more information about Lisa's ideas on the arts visit her website at: Lisa is also the Executive Director of Horizon Arts Camp, a professional performing and visual arts summer camp in Toronto, Canada. Visit: for more info!

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Problem Solving


Young People


Critical Thinking



Imagine a 10,000 piece jigsaw complete with a picture and then a tornado comes along and rips it apart, the pieces scattered and the picture lost. Imagine that jigsaw falling back to earth in some

By: Tim Holmes l Self Improvement > Empowerment l August 12, 2012 lViews: 334

Personal growth and understanding of self are no different. We fear that which we do not understand and it is a choice as to what we do with that feeling of fear. I now understand myself very well

By: Tim Holmes l Self Improvement > Personal Growth l August 12, 2012 lViews: 309

If you are going to write articles online, you are going to inadvertently increase your critical thinking skills. The reason is simple - because as you are preparing an article you are explaining to

By: Lance Winslow l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 02, 2012 lViews: 301

Back when I was in high school and college I was a spectacular athlete, and I'm not afraid to say so now. At the time, it might not been inappropriate, as it would have shown an inflated ego, but I

By: Lance Winslow l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 02, 2012 lViews: 495

Brainwave entrainment is a great resource for self-hypnosis and can be very effective in helping you to access the brainwave frequency that allows you to change your core programming by changing your

By: Wanina Petlock l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 01, 2012 lViews: 248

Simply put, brainwave entrainment is a process that uses sound patterns to change your dominant brainwave to a specific brainwave frequency that produces a certain, desired effect. Entrainment can

By: Wanina Petlock l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 01, 2012 lViews: 235

While many may dismiss vision boards as being an artsy, weird approach to a serious endeavor. Anyone with an open mind can find the fulfillment and happiness they deserve in life and making a vision

By: Marita Steffel Self Improvement > Creativityl June 13, 2012 lViews: 200

One of the great things about running a think tank is you get to talk to creative geniuses all day, and these are not your run-of-the-mill people, their similarities stop generally at their

By: Lance Winslowl Self Improvement > Creativityl June 12, 2012 lViews: 186

The Gemini New Moon on June 19 is invoking a revolution in consciousness. We are moving from breakdown to breakthrough. What is not built on Truth and Love is dissolving.

By: Kelley Rosanol Self Improvement > Creativityl June 11, 2012 lViews: 193

Boost your "waking life" creativity by exploring the endless possibilities of lucid dreams. Here is a list of things to try while in a lucid dream experience.

By: Allison Nelmsl Self Improvement > Creativityl June 07, 2012 lViews: 210

One of the things that stop you achieving your goals is self sabotage. It shows up in many different ways. Do you find yourself doing the exact opposite of what you know you need to be doing or doing

By: Eleanor Rossl Self Improvement > Creativityl June 05, 2012 lViews: 225

Maybe my journey as an artist will resonate with you...are you guilty of creating an endless cycle of list and projects, which you are unable to break free from? This is the list that never goes away

By: John-Michael Korpall Self Improvement > Creativityl May 30, 2012 lViews: 176

Where do kids learn how to dream big? Why is it that when we grow older and become adults our dreams fade away or seem unattainable? Learn why dreaming big can actually change the world!

By: Lisa A.E. Phillipsl Self Improvement > Creativityl February 06, 2012 lViews: 170

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus