Visual Art is a subject that promotes teaching and learning through art, craft and design. For adolescents and young adults, this involves becoming familiar with and applying the elements of art and principles of design, and the knowledge and skills associated with these processes, their histories and their contemporary practices. Visual Art also recognises and rewards a number of different forms of intelligence, including emotional intelligence; it develops personal qualities of expression and empathy.
Visual Art encompasses art, craft and design and involves practical work in a wide range of media leading to a specific outcome, e.g. an artwork, a design, architectural study, an installation or an event. Making art develops the learner's imagination through developing an idea or concept and allows them to exercise personal responsibility for specific tasks.
Visual Art is ambiguous; there is no single 'correct answer' in Visual Art: The subject promotes divergent thinking and develops the learner's ability to interpret, make judgements and express opinions on a work. It also promotes respect for the work and the opinions of others.
Visual Art is concerned with the personal, cognitive and physical fulfilment of the learner in both the present moment - producing work that gives personal pleasure and reward in the short-term, as well as in preparation for longer-term, more distant goals.
The qualities that Visual Art develops are crucial components of the rounded general education that all young people should experience. These personal characteristics and attributes include creativity, critical judgement, working with others or working individually, providing and receiving constructive criticism, and respecting differences.
Visual Art provides the learner with a space within which it is safe to experiment, to fail and to learn. It allows learners to collaborate on ideas and work. It facilitates and encourages the questions a learner may raise in travelling a path that may not lead to an anticipated outcome or that may produce a different outcome to what was planned. It gives them the capacity to understand and to express ideas, feelings and opinions: both their own and those of others.
Contemporary culture is highly visual. Visual literacy is an essential requirement of active citizenship. It enhances the young person’s ability to interpret, critique and decode visual messages. The capacity to engage in critical thinking in the art class fosters the young person’s competence and confidence in responding to and engaging with the visual culture of the contemporary world and with the natural and built environments. It opens their minds to the traditions and values of other cultures and influences. Visual literacy and the ability to appreciate visual culture adds to the wealth of learning available through historical artefacts and to an understanding of the evolution of works of art, craft or design across the development of human society.
In Visual Art, students build on the progress and skills they have already achieved in primary school in order to help them further improve. Students of the subject will develop the transversal skills, such as creativity, collaboration, ability to question, risk-assessment, problem identification, problem-solving and management of their own emotions; skills that form a natural learning mechanism that can enhance their own development. Students learn how best to use traditional and contemporary technologies for both creative and operational purposes. All these skills and dispositions are key to future learning in senior cycle, higher education, and also in the world of work.