What is art and why do we have to know about it? These are two questions I'm often asked by kids, and sometimes grownups. Everyone who asks these questions are often confused by the broad simplicity of the answers. What is art? Well, art is just about everything people find really, really important. Why do we have to learn about it? Well, isn't it important to learn about yourself?

Because art really is that big and that personal. People often say that they don't like art or that they don't have time for art. But aren't all the movies and TV shows they love art? Aren't the covers to all their CDs and albums, and the icons for every song they buy on iTunes, aren't those art? Didn't they buy those shoes partly for how they looked, those shoes designed by artists? Aren't their video games designed and built by artists? Aren't their computers, their phones, their watches, their eyeglasses? Art is everywhere and it daily affects how we think and what we do. There's no getting around it. You love art. It's one of the main influences in your life.

The words you read started out as art. That's right, before they became letters, they started out as pictures. The science you depend on was started largely by artists. The religions you worship were spread by art for hundreds or thousands of years before the ordinary person first read a holy book. Politics is so wrapped in art that it wouldn't be recognized if the art were taken out of it.

So, we won't entertain the nonsense idea that maybe art is a sideline of no importance. That makes no sense, given the facts of who we are as people.

ArtBOX is designed to help elementary school children learn to draw, color and understand the art around them. I’ve no intention of turning kids into world-class artists; kids have dozens of things they want and need to learn, of which art is only one important subject. Besides, it's important that we understand where art stands in our lives; it isn't really important that we be talented at actually doing art on our own. That's what we pay artists for.

Within this scope, it’s important that kids know how to draw a human face (it’s their face, after all!), the human body, and how the world around them is built. In doing so, kids can learn a lot about science, social studies, math and other areas of study.

Art is important, even if a kid has no intention of becoming an artist. Art is all around us, speaking to us and shaping our view of the world. Art can also be an important means to understanding that world and learning to control it ourselves. Last but not least, art can be fun!

So, whether you’re a first grader or the first grader’s teacher, whether you’re a curious parent, a home schooling parent, or a teacher in a school with no art program, browse my collection of simple lessons and information so that you can learn -- or teach -- something about art. It could lead to an adventure you would not have thought possible!