I'm currently sitting in the main gallery of the Harris Fine Arts Center, doing my homework. There's a beautiful student art exhibit going on right now, entitled, "Transformed by Light". Right now, there's a man (one of my professors actually), exploring the exhibit with his kids (who look like they range in age from 3 to about 7). Typically, the terms "art exhibit" and "kid-friendly" don't seem to mesh well. Kids don't have the attention span, sophistication, patience, depth, etc. etc. to understand art, right?
But he's walking with them from painting to painting, saying things like, "Whoa, check out the line on this guy's arm, isn't that cool?" and "Why do you think the artist decided to paint him like that?" And then one kid sprints across the gallery to another painting, saying, "Dad, Dad, this one's really cool!"
These little guys understand art. It speaks to them. They may not know all the compositional terms or have context for all the cultural references, but gosh darn it, they feel something. They look at this artwork and are genuinely excited and engaged. I don't think these kids are the exception. I think children are capable of enjoying a lot more than we think. As a future teacher and (hopefully) a future parent, I feel passionately about this. I intend to teach my students and my children about art, music, and beauty, not by sitting them down and lecturing at them, but by giving them opportunities to engage with the arts, to be touched and to express themselves.
Because that place where you've forgotten the real world, that place where you're moving and swaying to the music without noticing, the moment where you feel like the painting has swallowed you up inside its world, where the sculpture is about to spring to life....
That is where beauty happens.