In the past 8 years of teaching AP studio art, I've taught some students who new exactly what their concentration was before the class even started. I've also taught those who struggled to find their expression their entire senior year.
I think that in the context of the school system and within the perimeters set by the AP program we forget how natural art is supposed to be. Just like actors have a need to act, singers have a need sing, writers have a need to write, scientists have a need research, and dancers have a need to dance, artists have a need to create art.
The Iraqi visual artist and poet mentioned in the article don't have to try to find their concentrations. Rather, their concentrations found them. I couldn't imagine the war in Iraq not being a major force in their need to express.
I wonder if some of my students have their own personal wars that they are overlooking while searching for a good concentration. I wonder if there is an artist in a war-torn neighborhood trying to think of a good theme for a painting.