Filling an art room with students’ artwork creates a “classroom gallery” where the students feel pride in the display of their creations. However, I think it is also important for the art classroom to have fine art prints put on view for students to see every day. Not only do these prints provide a source of inspiration, but they expose students to artworks and artists that they may not be familiar with. The use of art prints in art, or picture study, is not a new technology. It was very popular in the late 19th century, but faded out by 1920.
Fine art prints can be used for lessons in Art Appreciation, Art History, Art Criticism and Aesthetics. Teaching students about different eras, movements, techniques and styles of art will give them a better understanding of art. This knowledge will allow them to better appreciate art as well. Having a variety of art prints is key to introducing them to the vast artworks throughout history as well as contemporary work. It also will help them develop, improve and assess their own artwork.
In addition, fine art prints are essential when teaching students formal analysis. Having various examples of artwork to point out the different ways artists use the visual elements (line, shape, texture, value, color, space, form) and the principles of design (unity, rhythm, balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern) is beneficial for the students as well as the teachers.
Art prints can evoke inquiry about the artist as well. Students may admire a particular work of art which, in turn, might lead them into researching the artist, wanting to know more about them and their work. Using fine art prints for an “Artist of the Month” bulletin board is a great way to celebrate various artists along with introducing them to the students. Art educators should take advantage of the many uses that fine art prints can provide throughout the art curriculum.