Professional artists Sheryl Smith Seltzer and Carol Kreider visit Mr. Stanton’s eighth grade art class at Laurel Elementary to teach students about relief print making.

Some may take art education as simply a creative activity but art is one of the building blocks of child development which allows children the capacity to create which helps with critical thinking skills and reaching a child’s full learning potential.

“I really believe that all people are artists. I think that we need to help people learn all aspects of themselves, which will help them to learn more about the arts, science, athletics, scientific questioning and writing creatively to make a difference in the world”, says, Sheryl Smith Seltzer, artist, painter, and print maker. “Every child deserves to learn about their full potential.”

Valerie Munoz, eighth grader at Laurel Elementary says that she likes being able to make art that can make a difference in the world. “Being able to make a difference by expressing ourselves is what I like about art,” says Valerie. “Art helps me to express myself – all people have the privilege to do art”, says Valerie.

“Art helps me to relax because school is kind of stressful sometimes,” says Eduardo Tapia, eighth grade. “We get to do art and we get to share our opinions and there is no right or wrong answer.”

Children are living in an increasingly diverse society, teaching children to recognize their choices an artist or designer may help kids to understand the world around them to make better decisions.

“I like that art helps me to open up about my feelings and it make your life better. It helps me to focus on positive things and gets you out of being involved in gangs and doing bad things,” says, Mekhi Pryor, eighth grade.

“What I’ve learned today in this class is that, little things can turn into something big,” says Angel Ortiz who noticed that some very simple art concepts can turn a small project into something major as he begins to decide if he wants to pursue a job in the arts.

“What I like about art is that it can go many different ways. It’s never a pattern – it’s interesting,” says Tenoch Zepeda, eighth grader. “[Art is not] just about flowers and chairs it can be about the sun, the moon or even swirls.”

“I don’t really do art but since I have been in this class I am starting to like it – if I get better,” says, Breanna Gonzalez, eighth grade, “What I like most about it, is that it makes me calm and helps me to concentrate from my other classes.”

“A young lady in the art class was excited about her relief print. She said that everyone wanted a copy of her artwork and realized that at that moment she was an artist! It gives a feeling that “I’m special” and it helps for her and other students to express ideas and emotions,” says, Carol Kreider as she recalls her experience in Mr. Stanton’s class.

Art teacher Benjamin Stanton expresses his thoughts on what the importance of art is to the kids.

“Because it gives them a chance to actually express themselves. Many times they’re not given the opportunity to express themselves. One of the goals is to expose the kids to as many different art processes and disciplines as possible so that they can see which one is for them. I want them to understand how to think differently and work through different processes that will help them in other things and activities.”

Different students like different things and with the exposure to more art and the types of art disciplines it allows the students to find something they like about art and work with a type of art process that works for them.