Holistic Arts Experience

Holistic Arts Experience

This was how the holistic arts experience we engaged in looked:

  • We read The Dot by Peter Reynolds (2003) Candlewick Press
  • We explored materials as a group
  • We engaged in a nonjudgmental critique
  • We each went away and created our own piece
  • We wrote a reflection that we handed in the class after the experience

Some components of a holistic arts experience:

  • Involve all students, no matter what level of artistic skill and experience
  • Help create a community of learners through co-generating and sharing – helps us to believe we are all creative
  • All encompassing / involve the whole child – mentally / intellectually, physically, emotionally / spiritually
  • Meet the needs of all sensory preferences – kinesthetic, visual, tactual, auditory

Reflection on Holistic Arts Experience and Reading “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds

Last class we read the book “The Dot” together and were inspired by Vashti and her dot creativity. This is a great book that sends the message that everyone can be an artist.


We then engaged in a group activity to explore our materials (paint, pencil crayons, paper, scissors, sponges, etc.) – each group was given a large piece of paper and the materials and given 5-10 minutes to create something. We all contributed and made dots on the page. I forgot to take a picture of our dot pages 😦

Next, we came together to discuss our group creations through nonjudgmental critique. Non-judgmental critique is a time when we gather together and look at each other’s art. Sometimes students are given the option of bringing their work to the table in the middle and sometimes everyone is asked to bring theirs. We then take turn pointing out things we notice about the pieces in front of us in a nonjudgmental manner. Usually we don’t know whose creation is whose because people’s names are on the back.

After our nonjudgmental critique, we had time to make our own individual piece inspired by Vashti and the dot. We had a few different materials to use – paper, pencil crayons, dot stickers, etc. We put on some music while we worked. This is what I made:


Then we participated in another nonjudgmental critique session, but this time each artist was able to chose whether or not to include his/her piece in the critique.


Reflecting on this experience, I think it was a somewhat holistic one for me. Having the music on and being encouraged to talk with others in the class made me feel like I was engaging parts of myself I might not have if the activity had been a silent or less free-flow one. I also enjoyed the reflectiveness of engaging in the critique afterward with the group creation.

When it came time to create my own piece, having minimal instruction made me feel more emotionally or perhaps spiritually engaged as I felt I was being given permission to whatever inspiration I personally found in the story rather than having to conform to certain rules to arrive at the “right” answer. On the other hand, however, this freedom also somewhat paralyzed me in that I didn’t know where to start. I felt pressure as well knowing I only had so much time to complete my creation. I wonder if I would have been able to connect in a different way to the art I was creating if I had completed this activity outside of class with more time and without my classmates present as I found myself silently comparing myself to them in a more judgmental way than I would have liked!