The standards for Arts and Humanities are located in the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. The standards incorporate the four arts disciplines of dance, drama, music, visual art. Schools are urged to provide their students with rigorous arts programs that emphasize creativity, production and performance, and response to the arts.
The arts and humanities program in the elementary grades centers on an exploration of the art forms of dance, drama/theatre, music and visual arts. Emphasis should be placed on exposing students to a variety of arts through active experiences in all four art forms. This exploration includes a beginning of literacy development in the arts content areas, simple analysis and critique of the arts, and active creating and performing in the arts.
The arts and humanities programs at the middle school level should center on establishing grounding in the arts so that students are able to communicate at a basic level in each of the art forms of dance, drama/theatre, music and visual arts. Emphasis should be placed on exposing students to a variety of arts through active experiences in all four art forms. Students may have already begun to, or at this level choose to focus on one art form for more in-depth study. This will help students to prepare should they choose specialization in one art form at the high school level. Grounding in the arts involves literacy development in the four arts content areas, analysis and critique of the arts, and active creating and performing in the arts.
At the high school level, students may choose to specialize in one or more art forms. Specialization will enable students to study an art form in an in-depth manner and work toward achieving proficiency and mastery in creating, performing, and responding to their chosen art form. Students who specialize in an art form will participate in performance-based arts courses designed to develop skills and understanding that will enable students to use the art form as a high level communication tool. This is accomplished through the development of creativity and production or performance skills. Performance-based courses also connect the arts with their historical and cultural contexts as students study exemplary works and learn the impact of time, place and personality on the arts. In addition, these courses promote an understanding of the interrelationships among the arts disciplines and connections with other academic content areas.
Students choosing not to specialize in an art form in high school should move beyond the grounding in the arts achieved at the middle school level toward proficiency in the arts. Emphasis for these students should be placed on exposing students to a variety of arts through active experiences in all four art forms, and developing further understanding and appreciation of the historical and cultural significance of dance, drama/theatre, music and visual arts. A higher emphasis on the process of responding to the arts is a natural outcome of this more general approach to arts and humanities education, however creating and performing the arts remain as critical processes in the general education of all students and promote deep understanding and appreciation of the arts.
At all grade levels, students should have the opportunity to learn about the arts in the context of creating and performing. As students create and perform, they learn that the arts are basic to human communication and that they can use the arts to communicate specific meaning through their choices in the use of various arts elements and principles of design.
Creating involves planning and creating new music, dance, drama/theatre or visual arts, or it may involve improvising in music, dance or drama/theatre. Improvising is the composing of new music, reciting/acting new dramatic material, or creating new dance movements on the spur of the moment.
Performing is limited to the performing arts of music, dance and drama/theatre. Visual arts students should consider the exhibition of their art as ‘performing.’ Performing involves presenting previously created works for an audience as well as performing original works. Although the process of performing involves following a creative plan conceived by a composer, playwright or choreographer, there is still opportunity for creative interpretations in the performance.
Responding to the arts involves responses on multiple levels. The arts are a tool for communication and are capable of delivering meaning through literal and emotional content. Responding to the emotional content of artworks involves actually feeling the emotion(s) set forth by the creator. Responding can also involve intellectual analysis of works of art in regard to their design, effectiveness and quality.