About NAB



NAB Content Areas

The seven content areas of New Art Basics are designed to explore material that will challenge students to develop their higher order thinking skills.

"Clearly, the skills students learn in art class in relation to critical thinking have tremendous carryover value to the rest of our curriculum. I believe that a major weakness in most schools is the failure by teachers to challenge students at the higher cognitive levels; the NAB program does an excellent job of addressing this problem."

--Michael Milligan, Principal

Wellsburg-Steamboat Rock High School, Iowa



1. Getting Ready for Visual Thinking

In this area students are taught the skills of visualization. Relaxed attention, part and whole thinking, and mental rehearsal are necessary for productive thought. Getting ready activities have been shown during the pilot study to result in heightened imaginative skills and greater motivation for art activities.

2. Basics of Visual Thinking

Visual thinking strategies are designed to increase student ability to think in configurational terms alone, increasing both the flexibility and fluidity in the process of generating visual ideas. It teaches a preference for combinative thoughts and promotes reflective thinking about the course of graphic ideation. Activities in this area have been shown to promote joyful participation in the formation process rather than product centered activities to please the teacher.

3. Metaphoric Thinking

Strategies in this area teach students the boundary stretching and boundary breaking thinking skills of bisociation and analogy. To see connections where others have not is a productive thinking skill of great creative importance and one that is uniquely suited to the visual arts.

4. Visual Logic

A developed internal sense of cohesiveness, comprehensibility, integrity and elegance is necessary to guide original thinkers to a sense of completion and understanding. Strategies in the visual logic area teach students to understand the normal functions of their perceptual system as the basis for developing visually logical designs; designs that "work".

5. Human Context

This area teaches children the important functions of art such as: recording experience, celebrating beauty, exploring human concerns, communicating information, renewing life and providing continuity. All of the studio based activities in this area contribute to the sense of art created as an inner necessity so basic for human development and socialization.

6. Cultural Context

Activities in this area are designed to speak to our group identity expressed through many art forms including ritual, ceremony and celebration. They teach that in many cultures of the world, art is perceived as central to life. No designation separates it artificially from the rest of life. Rather than meaningless projects completed for course requirements, cultural context strategies seek to make students aware of the 'glue' that binds a culture together.

7. Historical Context

Strategies in this area better prepare students for understanding where they come from, how they got there and where they are going. The effect of the study of history is to empower the living. Lecture methods are replaced by art production activities with reflective thinking components that require students to study the visual material record left by those who have preceded us, its context, cultural input and individual human lives.