Editor's Letter

posted on Sep 11, 2019

Watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, has me thinking about joy, but as it applies to art. Her method, introduced in her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, encourages sorting by category, beginning with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, and, finally, sentimental items. Kondo recommends that you only keep items that “spark joy.”

One of the best things about attending national and state art education
conferences is meeting our authors. Nancy met regular contributor Leigh Drake
for the first time at NAEA Boston. You can see Leigh’s article in this issue on page 42.

Rest assured, I’m not suggesting you apply this philosophy to tidying up your artroom; there was certainly nothing tidy about mine. I’m more interested in thinking about the concept of joy as it relates to art. I suppose Kondo would put art under sentimental items, but she doesn’t address it directly as such.

Joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Joy is why we look at art, teach art, make art, and surround ourselves with art. At the heart of it, isn’t this joy felt through art that we want to share with our students? Our most important responsibility as art teachers may be to spark that joy.

Think about what sparks joy for you in the artroom. Is it students who are so absorbed in their work that they don’t want to leave when the class time is up? Or is it their willingness to experiment? The acceptance, trust, and respect they feel from you? The variety of responses you get to an art problem? The pride students feel seeing their work displayed? I’m sure you can think of many more examples that personally bring you joy.

Since I no longer have an artroom, the aspect of art education that sparks the most joy for me is discovering and publishing the best of what art teachers do. SchoolArts is committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for the community of art educators in the visual arts, and that is my mission. May yours also bring you and your students joy.

View this article in the digital edition.