In my experience, art is not only about aesthetics and beauty. Art allows children to explore materials and forms, discover colours, the movement of the body, and experiment with musical instruments. Art is about having fun and surprising yourself.
I am convinced that art contributes to a person’s development and discipline, it teaches how to be consistent, to finish what one begins. It also gives children many ways to create depending on their likes and abilities. They learn to respect the manner in which others express themselves and not to discriminate. Pink and blue are only colours, without category or relation to gender.
There is also culture, whether it is a physical journey to another place, or via books, magazines, the internet, or different foods. Children learn to recognize the “other.” It is important to speak with them about different religions, languages, customs, their own family, their country and the world.
Understanding these things helps them know that they are not the only ones, that they can be more sensitive to the diversity of people and cultures. In most Mexican cities, there is a government funded house of culture offering workshops at very accessible prices. More than simply having kids draw on paper, read, act out a story or sing, it is about spending time with them and letting them be.
It is also important not to discourage children when it is time to choose a career. They can be a talented artist who can make a living from their art and develop their abilities. Art has great benefits when introduced at a young age. As adults we often forget to let ourselves go a little bit and do what we enjoy.
It’s not that art and culture are some kind of magic wand, but they surely make children happy. When they become adults they will have many resources available to them for solving problems in whatever situation in life or career they find themselves. Through culture they will be freer, conscientious and tolerant.