By Maria Turner
Art Teacher, Black Forest Academy
If art is the answer, then what is the question?
That was the prompt assigned to my beginning art students to inspire their final pieces in Drawing and Painting 1. Their first challenge was to come up with as many questions as they could where art was the answer to those questions. Then, I asked them to pick the question they felt was the strongest, and create a final piece around that.
“What can make a bridge between the stars? What can hide or heal every scratch and scar? Art is the answer.”
“What makes me feel isolated, what makes me feel uncomfortable? Art is the answer.”
“What am I? Art is the answer.”
Their questions ranged from poetic metaphors, to revealing honesty, to personal identity. If I have learned anything from being a high school art teacher, it is that creating alongside others brings us together in a powerful way.
When students share in the struggles and challenges that creating poses day-in and day-out, it teaches them valuable skills about patience and hard work. Each individual journeys through the process of learning how to draw/paint/experiment. They undergo great frustration at times, vulnerable moments in others, and surprisingly joyous times, too. Art does not lend itself to intellectually based black and white learning, but instead confronts students with those deeper feelings in response to their work.
I am a witness to seeing God use art to show a high school student they can confide in those around them and they can create meaningful things. I see students growing in self-confidence, and finding joy in imitating our Creator, through creating.
Honestly, one of the most incredible realities I have come to in my life is God will work through whatever it is you have to offer Him, by whatever means is available. It is through art I am beginning to understand that God takes our limited understanding of wherever we think we are going, and then shows up in the process to show us where He wants us to go. He shows up when we are in the midst of creating and continues to show us more of Himself.