As school budgets decrease throughout the country, one of the first programs sent to the chopping block is usually art. The arts, from painting to graphic design, are often neglected in schools when compared to math, science, reading and writing, and even other vocational studies. But one New Jersey teacher, writer and artist argues that art is a crucial aspect of our existence, which is why she wrote The Elephants of Art.

On this episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato, writer and illustrator of The Elephants of Art, Jo O’Mara, visits the set to talk to Steve Adubato, PhD., about how her book teaches children the fundamentals of art, which include lines, colors and shapes. The book also addresses how elements of art are all around us―among nature and even within various types of technology.

In addition to being a published writer and illustrator, O’Mara is also an art teacher for urban arts at the Monroe Center in Hoboken.

This video was made possible thanks to New Jersey Resources.

“I teach young kids, and I want to teach them the ‘elements’ of art,” O’Mara told Adubato, referencing the pun in the title of her new book. “They’re important. They’re line; they’re shape, color, texture, value, space and form. And they’re something that artists use all the time―but everybody uses them. Architects use them; engineers use them…”

O’Mara goes on to describe how the elements of art are also present in a number of everyday items and appliances, and she shares her teaching methods which show students how this could be true, including opening a computer motherboard to show how these same elements are even inside of machines.

“I feel like when kids have a visual awareness of [the elements], not only does it help them draw… they just [become] more aware of things around them,” said O’Mara.

To learn more about The Elephants of Art and how teacher, writer and artist Jo O’Mara engages her students, check out this edition of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.

For more stories that impact New Jersey residents, click over to our Hot Topics in NJ series.



  • Hero (Top) Feature Image: © One on One with Steve Adubato / Caucus Educational Corporation
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