Why We Need the Arts
We need to look at reality here. Budget cuts have downsized, and in some cases eliminated, arts education in our schools.
My mother teaches science at an elementary school which has entirely cut the arts from the curriculum. They have no art class, no music class, no theater. Considering the focus on standardized testing, perhaps this should not be very surprising.
The arts play a pivotal role not only in culture, but in our development as people.
Involvement in the arts enhances critical thinking skills.
Even just in music, students must learn to observe, interpret, and react in real time. I’ve written previously about how music increases empathy through taking on different perspectives; but, the arts also improve skills in analysis (whether artistic or technical) and synthesis (how to fit it all together).
Arts involvement enhances mathematics and language skills
through a combination of exposure to new vocabulary (usually Italian, French, and German in music), notation systems, dances, patterns, and spatial relationships.
The arts improve creative thinking.
Perhaps the most touted of benefit of the arts, creative thinking is a vital skill in all branches of our constantly changing world.
Arts education enriches learning in other subjects.
Music, dance, poetry, theatre, literature, and art have always gone hand-in-hand. The skills and knowledge used by engineers, designers, historians, and even doctors are all cultivated and enhanced through the study of different arts.
Arts involvement promotes teamwork.
The collaboration involved in producing a play or dance, an orchestra or choir concert, or a number of other artistic productions teaches the strength in diversity and teamwork; not to mention developing empathy and deep friendships!
Learning an art develops character.
The patience, persistence, practice, and discipline needed to learn an art not only builds good working habits and attitudes, but consistently striving and achieving goals improves self-confidence. Performance arts (music, theatre, dance) in particular can supply students skills they’ll need to effectively communicate on both large and small scales.
Standing up for the arts is standing up for our culture, our children, and our future.
Art is not a luxury to be tacked on if we can manage it. Art is a vital part of our humanity.
Think about your favorite pieces, songs, poems, books, movies, and plays. How have these things impacted your life?
What difference has art made in your life?