Carbondale New School

Serving Southern Illinois since 1974

The mind is a fire to be kindled, not a vessel to be filled



Art is an important part of the experience at Carbondale New School. All grades have weekly art classes taught by dedicated and experienced instructors, using a variety of methods, materials and techniques to explore elements and principles of art and art history in a fun creative setting. Classes support creativity, cooperation, confidence, expression of emotions and independent thinking.

At a time when art has attained "stepchild" status in other schools — last to be funded and first to be cut — we believe regular art education is much more than a break from routine academic instruction, and in fact provides a range of cognitive benefits that enhance problem-solving performance in other disciplines. As Elliot Eisner wrote in 2002*:

  1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
  2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
  3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
  4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
  5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
  6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
  7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
  8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
  9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
  10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.


Look familiar? Of course it does. Yours may not be as long in the tooth as the model pictured below, but if you have kids, chances are you have fridge-art. But, while putting art on the fridge is a good start, it doesn't get you coffee-mugs or t-shirts bearing your child's latest masterpiece, and it may not do much for Grandma & Grandpa in Sarasota, or Aunt Marg in Southern Cal. So at CNS, we also put our students' artwork up on Artsonia, where you can see a gallery of your child's work anytime, and even add pictures of home-created works if you choose. Sharing with friends and relations is as easy as adding them to your child's Artsonia fan club--both you and your child's fans will receive email when new artwork is posted. Artsonia pays 20% of every purchase of art keepsakes to the arts program at CNS. Get the free Artsonia app, and your child's whole portfolio is never more than a tap away!

* Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press.