I know that the gifted discussion has died down, but I have something to
add. Friday after school, a teacher was telling me who her gifted students
were. I was rather surprised, because the students she mentioned didn't
show signs of giftedness in art. Sure, they are conscientious, and care
about their grades, but they did not exhibit extraordinary creativity or
skill thus far. In fact, many of my most creative and technically skilled
students are behavior problems and do poorly in other classes (which, I
know, does not mean that they are not gifted).
It seems as though gifted artists are also gifted intellectually, but those
gifted intellectually are not necessarily gifted artists. I would suggest
that if there was a gifted art program in place at schools, it should be
separate from the general gifted program. Furthermore, based on my
experience, I'm not so sure that there should be a "gifted arts" program.
Certainly, in grade school, students are still physically, emotionally, and
intellectually developing. Consequently, most art programs that teach art
(not step-by-step crafts) will be challenging for any student, gifted or
otherwise. Art incorporates all aspects of intelligence and any given
assignment can be taken to various levels. Students spend less time doing
art in school than anything else, a student would have to be doing an awful
lot of extra-curricular art activities to show giftedness (at least in k-5),
in my opinion. A final note, yes, I have seen students who show exceptional
skill, but my art program does not bore them.