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Visual Arts in Education: Skills and Abilities Students Develop Through the Arts

Saturday 29th June 2024

The realm of visual art provides a unique and valuable set of benefits that students can take beyond their creative pursuits and into other areas of their education. Arts education is a powerful catalyst for academic growth and personal development, and students who study visual art have a great opportunity to extend themselves.


The most obvious benefit of visual art education is the chance to explore different creative instincts. Creativity is the first thing we think about when someone mentions art, and for good reason: visual art is all about taking the different ideas and concepts we hold in our heads and bringing them into reality. This can be done with a variety of forms and styles, but always takes a lot of creative thinking.

This is important for students because creative thinking has many applications beyond purely artistic pursuits. Creative thinking is also put to use when solving complex problems and thinking of daily solutions. Students who cultivate their creativity are better able to approach issues from different angles and come up with unique and effective solutions.


Studying visual arts engages the entire brain, helping students develop their cognitive abilities just as much as their creativity. As students plan their art and designs, and learn how to execute their vision with different techniques, they engage their critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students also develop useful spatial reasoning and pattern recognition abilities.

Spending time creating and analysing art also helps to improve focus, which is an important skill that can be adapted into every educational area. Being able to realise a vision takes diligence and concentration, which are valuable assets in any study experience.


Visual arts are an important outlet for creative and emotional expression, helping students look after their mental health and wellbeing. The opportunity to create something unique and personal encourages valuable self-expression and reflection, helping students develop a firmer sense of identity. When students are better able to express themselves openly, they are better able to handle the different pressures and responsibilities in their lives.

Creating art usually involves multiple different stages of work, including changing or removing earlier aspects to make way for something new. In this way, studying art helps to teach students to be resilient and to have a growth mindset, where they don’t see their pursuits as failures, but as steps towards a final product. This mentality can bring a lot of stability and improve mental fortitude and wellbeing in the face of different challenges.


With so many pieces of art standing the test of time in the forms of paintings, sculptures, photographs and more, studying the field gives students the opportunity to learn about other periods of time and how the world has changed. Additionally, students can explore how art is created and valued in different cultures and contexts across the globe. Learning more about art over time and across culture can spark new inspiration and lead to more meaningful and exciting artistic pursuits.

When we prioritise arts education in schools, we also contribute to wider society, building more tolerance and injecting a greater creative spirit into the world. While only a minority will continue to study or pursue long-term visual arts careers, a community that has more foundational skills in art is better able to apply critical and creative thinking in all areas.

Visual arts at St Francis Xavier College

We prioritise visual arts as part of our core curriculum right from Year 7, to ensure every student has the opportunity to enjoy these benefits and discover whether it is something that sparks passion for them. Education in the arts begins with Visual Arts as a subject in the Year 7 curriculum and then as an elective option in Years 8 and 9, along with similar subjects like Visual Communication Design and Animation. Particularly interested and capable students can also apply to enrol in a Visual Art Extension Academy.

In Year 10, students have more choice in their artistic pursuits, with both 2D and 3D Visual Art, as well as Visual Communication Design and Media Arts. These help to prepare students who wish to pursue different visual arts courses at the VCE level. For more information, have a look at our Junior Curriculum and Senior Curriculum booklets. Outside of our main visual arts curriculum, students also have the opportunity to showcase their creative works at the SIS Art & Technology Exhibition every year.

Designing a pathway

The importance of Including visual arts in education is a valuable and important practice, providing students a creative and stress-relieving outlet, while also providing a host of benefits. We are proud to help our students study visual arts and a variety of different learning areas and find what they are passionate about, and where they feel most capable.