|What are the educational values
associated with studying art? 
What are skills of impression
In addition to cultivating the imagination, making or responding to art also contributes to developing powers of observation; i.e., moving beyond what is obvious and learning to see variations and subtleties. By learning to react to the visual world in the mode of the artist or art critic, one develops abilities to observe carefully, and to identify, analyze, and evaluate what is experienced; these are the skills of impression.
For example: looking at an oak tree, identifying its inherent shapes, textures and colors, analyzing how trunk and branches relate to each other, and making judgments about the extent to which it evokes a sense of vigor or loneliness. Or, when viewing a sculptural work, identifying the nature of its texture, planes and convex and concave areas; diagnosing and articulating how these elements interrelate; and assessing the extent to which the art work's formal organization contributes or detracts from what appears to be its central message.
Being involved in learning how to create art implies developing abilities to represent and interpret feelings and thoughts, and to create personal responses to experience; these are the skills of expression. Such skills include abilities to produce illusions of space, volume and movement; i.e. utilizing linear and aerial perspective, and gesture and animation techniques. These types of abilities relate to primary mental aptitudes associated with spatial visualization and perceptual speed and accuracy.
Representing natural or manufactured objects and interpreting what is experienced visually requires making all kinds of choices about what to include and what to leave out, while producing objects that convey both ideas and feelings.
For instance, painting a still life of apples and other fruits requires one to create images of fruit that convey an illusion of three-dimensional, somewhat irregular spheres that possess both striking and subtle variations in color and texture. Apples and/or other fruits can also be depicted in ways that take us beyond their literal qualities. Depending upon how these objects are represented and interpreted, they can be used as a basis for caricature or satire, or for making more universal statements about nature's bounty.
Still Life with Apples and Peaches
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art
Here is an example of a painting of apples and other fruits that goes beyond its subject. Because of his emphasis upon creating a compositional structure that is very carefully balanced though very asymmetrical, Cezanne provides us with a dynamic metaphor for the monumental and universal qualities that may be found in even the most mundane of objects.
Knowing how to "read" the visual world and how to "write" visual statements that express one's thoughts and feelings constitute being literate in nonverbal areas of communication. Such skills require that one be engaged at all levels of cognitive activity, ranging from identifying and/or producing simple visual qualities to analytical, critical, and creative thinking. These are among the ways that art education contributes significantly to the development of intellectual power, which is the central goal of all schooling.