By: Megan McCasland
The arts are a universal language. People have used music, art, and theatre to communicate with each other for hundreds of years. It is vital, perhaps now more than ever, that we support and increase arts education in schools and communities everywhere.
After reading many articles on the subject and gathering information, I have compiled ten reasons why arts education is so important:
1) THE ARTS IMPROVE CREATIVITY
This may seem like a no-brainer, but being in an artistic environment helps people see the world in new ways. I always feel more inspired after having done something in the arts.
2) THE ARTS IMPROVE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Studies have shown that students involved in the arts do better in school. A study by Americans for the Arts states that students who regularly participate in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, participate in a math or science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem.
3) THE ARTS HELP DEVELOP MOTOR SKILLS
This is primarily concerning younger children, but important nonetheless. According to PBS Parent, the National Institutes of Health states that developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Tasks like holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon are important elements to aid with this development.
4) THE ARTS BUILD CONFIDENCE
There’s something about getting on stage and pretending to be someone else that makes you feel like you can do anything. And if you don’t feel that way at first, theatre classes are great places to learn how to overcome stage fright or fears about speaking in public.
5) THE ARTS RELIEVE STRESS
Why else have adult coloring books been all the rage recently? Art therapy exists because people have realized that the arts help people cope with their worries. And this is seen across all ages. Children color all the time. College students color… Last year, one of my friends who was a CL (aka RA) on campus printed off coloring pages and left them at the front desk, and they were gone by the end of the week. Art therapy is widely used with the elderly, too.
6) THE ARTS HELP PEOPLE EXPRESS EMOTIONS
People listen to types of music that reflect how they feel. People draw and paint life experiences. The arts truly are physical representations of internal thoughts and feelings; they are personal life experiences created for others to enjoy.
7) THE ARTS HELP DEVELOP PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS
Problems in the arts require creative solutions. Learning problem-solving skills in an artistic outlet will better-prepare people to solve problems in other daily situations.
8) THE ARTS REACH STUDENTS NOT NORMALLY REACHED
If a student is not doing well in school, it does not mean that they are not smart. They just do not respond well to that kind of lesson. Oftentimes, they will flourish in the arts because that is what they are passionate about. If a student who does not like school does not get the chance to do something they love during the school day, they will often have a lower academic success rate and a harder time fitting in.\
9) THE ARTS MAKE YOU HEALTHIER
The National Endowment for the Arts released research from the University of Michigan which found that “Older adults who both created art and attended art events reported higher cognitive functioning and lower rates of both hypertension and limitations to their physical functioning than did adults who neither created nor attended art.”
10) THE ARTS TEACH COLLABORATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Many of the arts requires people to work together to accomplish a goal or task. They must share responsibility and be accountable for their part of the larger whole, otherwise the group might not do as well as it could have. Many arts projects are done on deadlines, so it is critical that people work together to get the show ready to go up at the end of the week, or for the music to sound like one cohesive piece for the concert the next day.