The Relevance of Art Education in the Cognitive Development of At-Risk Youth

By Brittany Dixon and Rick Garner.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 1, 2014 $US5.00

Mental health issues are commonly identified within the at-risk youth population. These various mental disorders have causes ranging from socioeconomic conditions to the effects of brain injury. Treatment for these conditions is generally not sought out by the at-risk population, unless there is a court mandate, which further exacerbates the difficulties facing the youth. Art, however, can provide a familiar vehicle for at-risk youth to explore their mental health issues through self-expression. The arts, and in particular visual art, can provide an outlet more readily accepted by at-risk youth than traditional non-art-based therapeutic interventions. Approaches ranging from neuro-creativity to creativity as critical thinking can be used to engage the creative process in ways that aid at-risk youth in examining mental issues and enhancing cognitive development. Engaging brain functions from basic visual processing to higher-order thinking youth are able to approach and address problems through the creative process in a manner that allows them to discover insights that contribute to their cognitive development.

Keywords: Creative Process, At-risk, Art Education

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 20, Issue 4, August 2014, pp.43-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 1, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 375.681KB)).

Brittany Dixon

Special Education Researcher, USA

Dr. Rick Garner

Professor, Department of Art Education, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, USA