Holidays in the Art Classroom, and Happy Memorial Day

The lesson for this week in my History of Art Education course was about holidays’ place in the art class, from where it started to where it is, and if indeed it is still needed today. I was blown away at hearing the position of people saying there is no need to “celebrate” holidays in the art classroom. While I understand it can be tricky to not just be the decorators for your school around every holiday seeing that the early roots of holiday art in the art class was almost purely for beautification, I think it’s important for us to use that time as a means to explore culture. I also understand the fear of excluding some groups or students around particular holidays, but we shouldn’t feel that we are having to celebrate a particular holiday, or worry about creating politically correct lessons around Christian based holidays. Art educators in this day and age should feel free to explore a plethora of holidays and use it as a tool for teaching our youth about cultural practices, beliefs, and even how many of them have deep roots in art history.
On another note, I hope everyone enjoys this holiday, Memorial Day, that is upon us. Whether you have family that has served our military or not, I hope that you use this holiday to be thankful for your loved ones and the freedom of your country, America. This weekend was always used as a time to spend with family for me growing up, and going to visit the graves of family deceased and taking them flowers. While I am now 400 miles away from one very important grave, this weekend is always sentimental to me, and though I can’t place a flower on my dad’s gravestone this weekend, I will be doing so in spirit.