Opinion: ARTS 101 – A class that’s more than it looks

If you’re looking to choose an interesting GED course for the upcoming semester and aren’t sure which one, ARTS 101 would be a solid choice. This studio class typically brings a mix of 2-3 different art styles to the table for you to try out and requires no prior art experience. Obviously, each section will be different depending on what your teacher decides for you, but it will definitely give you a taste of what artists do for a living.

I took this course in the summer of this year, and due to the short duration of the course, my experience was limited. Nevertheless, the short time I spent there really opened my eyes to what art can offer beyond academics. We undertook three projects over a seven week period and dabbled in charcoal drawing, kaleidoscope painting and paper cut drawing. Each project started with a short lecture on the art theory behind the style we were using, followed by two weeks of work. My instructor also gave us a short final exam and provided us with several additional credit options to improve our grade.

It had been years since I had done art before this class, and I was surprised at how refreshing it could be. I’m pretty sure this could be the case for so many other people as the world gets more competitive every year and people forget to explore options like these that are beyond their field of work. The visual stimulus this class provides and the creativity it draws into you are so soothing that you’ll probably want to take homework homework as a fun pastime. I’ve done this several times myself and was amazed at how it makes you lose track of time. I would work on my painting with a plan to start cooking in an hour, fast forward until 2 hours later, I’m still painting, trying to perfect that last flower petal.

I wondered why this was so and found real evidence. The science behind the art. Activities like drawing and painting can transcend you into a “state of flow” where you lose track of time and focus deeply on what you are doing. There is increased activity in the frontal areas of the brain which can induce relaxation. It can also activate reward pathways in the brain and trigger the feel-good factor associated with that art or phrase.

When you draw, you engage the visual and motor centers of your brain more, which stimulates thinking and memory. The process pushes you to make new connections between stored information and also helps your communication skills tremendously. Over time, drawing can sharpen your intuition and promote the development of new synapses in the brain.

Engaging in fine arts like painting or drawing enhances cognitive, functional, and emotional well-being in humans. Art can change our outlook on life, and it has been established that artists generally suffer less from loneliness and depression. Additionally, people find the art to be therapeutic and it has gone so far as to help many deal with mental trauma.

Science aside, working with color, charcoal, and cartoon collages is just a fun exercise in general. It’s a memorable experience to share with your friends and classmates and satisfying to see what you’ve accomplished at the end of the course. It is interesting to see what others can do and what they are capable of.

All in all, if you’re someone looking to squeeze some serious value out of the effort we usually have to put into Gen Eds these days, this art course might be a great start or just a whiff of some fun. ‘fresh air.

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