Education needs broad strokesMichael Wimmer believes that global art education has been through a huge transformation.
“Even in Europe, art education has been broadening its scope, from focusing primarily on traditional arts like music and paintings to include design, dance, drama, theater and new media,” Mr. Wimmer said. “It is no longer appropriate to confine art education to narrow fields of thought,” he added.
Mr. Wimmer, a music educator and political scientist from Vienna, Austria, participated in the three day International Arts Education Symposium in Seoul.
The symposium, organized by the Korea Arts & Culture Education Service, held numerous workshops and forums where panels discussed the direction art education should take and the method it should adopt in educating creative minds.
Mr. Wimmer is a founding member and the general manager of Educult, an art and science institute in Austria.
“I was fascinated by how the development of art education has become a major issue in Korea,” Mr. Wimmer said. “There has been a lot of interest from the Korean government regarding global cooperation in art education.”
Mr. Wimmer said many global educators have been realizing the importance of art education. “Even in Europe, many parents have considered art education to be a luxury, only for those who are privileged and can afford art as a hobby that people with a lot of leisure time enjoy,” Mr. Wimmer said. “This is not true.” He said art is a tool that helps people to reflect on themselves and express their identity in non-verbal ways.
“Therefore art is not the preserve of a specific social group. Rather it should be available to everyone. Art education helps individuals to improve their life,” Mr. Wimmer said.
“It has been proven by many studies that students that receive art education also excel in other studies.”
“The important thing is how to open creative minds and build up curiosities,” Mr. Wimmer continued. “And it is this very goal of molding creative minds that is a challenge for any art educator.”
In art education, Mr. Wimmer said he sees more similarities than differences between Europe and Korea. Both are struggling with the issue of their heritage and traditional ways of thinking. However, he believes Korea is more dynamic and focuses more on the future. “Korea’s art education is developing faster,” Mr. Wimmer said.
He added that the claim that a large number of students are taking more interest in commercial arts is not true. “The idea that public art is good and commercial art is bad is outdated,” Mr. Wimmer said. “Whether it is public art or commercial art both are, in the broad sense, art.” His belief is that it is more important to find ways of integrating fine arts with commercial art.
For art education to succeed, Mr. Wimmer said cooperation between schools and government is vital.
“Art education should be taught while cooperating with other school subjects such as integrating drama with science and math with music and so forth,” Mr. Wimmer said. “Art education should not be limited to studying classical painting and music.”
Mr. Wimmer added that government cooperation is also important since it is the administrative sector that could realize an art education program.
The ultimate goal of art education, Mr. Wimmer said, was to create an exceptional artist if possible.
by Lee Ho-jeong
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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