When we think about art, the first thing that generally springs to mind are the masterworks of the Renaissance period, when men such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles defined the visual arts for the next five centuries and counting. Painting, sculpture, and the other forms practiced by these masters had a long history even before their time, however, and have helped define capital-A Art since antiquity.
When I was in middle school (which, for me, ran from sixth to eighth grade), every sixth grader was required to take an “exploratory” class as an elective. Which, you know, required elective. Very funny, right?
Anyway: this exploratory class covered the four main classes that could be taken as electives as a seventh- and eighth-grader. You had one quarter each in basic (not BASIC) computer programming, tech ed (shop class), art, and home ec. As far as such things go, this was a pretty effective way of exposing kids to the choices available to them.