Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Say YES! to Greek Arts Education

The Four Seasons by Yannis Tsarouchis
As a child going to Greek school, I never realized that there were Greek artists. Greek art for me, and I believe many who grew up Greek-American, consisted of ancient Greek temples, pottery, Byzantine iconography and portraits of the heroes of the Greek revolution (who can forget Bouboulina on the boat, or Kolokotronis on the horse). There was just never enough time in class to talk about "modern" Greek artists, and their contributions to Greece. To be honest, I didn't know much myself until I stumbled upon the National Gallery of Greece's website a few years ago. They have a wonderful site that allows you to see their permanent collection along with biographies of the artists. Since then, I have been hooked! I include art from the National Gallery and the Benaki Museum in my class all the time. Let me give you an example:

The image above is used when I present my lesson on the four seasons. There is so much for the kids to look at... what is each person holding? What are the differences? Can they tell what season each person represents? What are some things that are around them that gives clues? What are the seasonal fruit in Greece? You will be amazed at the response you get, and the kids will remember the artwork and the artist. Not only that, in your lesson you have discussed clothing, colors, fruit, and flowers!

According to Richard Kessler, executive director of the Center for Arts Education in New York City "research shows that children who spend time in school doing visual art, performing music or dance or even acting in a ply gain a whole set of creative and analytical skills that are quickly disappearing from the rest of the curriculum." Why not cultivate these skills in our children by showing them what talent Greece has to offer! Show your child Greek art, teach them a Greek dance, encourage them to learn Greek songs and poetry. It will be a memorable experience for both you and your child.

The National Gallery of Greece


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