You Need To Support Arts Education
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Student Life

You Need To Support Arts Education

It's just as important as any other subject.

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You Need To Support Arts Education

The realm of the arts is as expansive as it is important. With so many categories, from literature to performing arts to visual arts to film, they can impact us in incredible ways. And I firmly believe that our society needs to do a better job at supporting the presence of each one in our schools.


First, academia- there's endless evidence proving how influential exposure to the arts is for students. For example, there's this publication, which tells how music students have higher success rates in math classes later on in high school, among other many things. It also goes without saying that thought processes can improve through studying art because of how much creativity and depth it takes to interpret something so simple yet complex as a painting or a piece of music. Unique, interpretive ways of thinking are extremely helpful in our world. If Steve Jobs, for example, hadn't been such a creative and original thinker, what would our world look like?


Art requires discipline, as well, whether it's spending hours in a music practice room or pondering over the best choice of words to write. This can be helpful not just during school, when using time in a focused way is key to productivity, but also in the long run. Additionally, many students have said that their studies in the arts are what kept them in school at all- something that shouldn't be taken lightly.


Teaching the arts to students can also breed skills outside the classroom. The same publication mentioned earlier cited music and dance as conducive to better social skills in kids. Some of this came from boosted confidence, but it is also known that shared musical experiences can cause bonding. Even aside from this, the arts are a great way to connect with people over common interests. Kids also share how the arts kept them in better social circles, including pianist and Britain's Got Talent victor Tokio Myers.


On top of that, the arts have long been a way of sharing important stories, which helps not just kids but everyone who consumes them to understand other people better. John Green's most recent bestseller, "Turtles All The Way Down", shares the experiences of a teen with OCD in a way that only someone with this disorder could explain. He refers to this painting inside and outside the book as something that represents his own OCD in a way that only art can. This just goes to show that art doesn't just give people a voice- it helps them feel heard.


What does this mean in terms of art in our schools specifically then? It removes the baseline of artistic experiences. Yes, kids can get exposure to art through outside opportunities, but not everyone is able take advantage of those and, even if they can, not every parent may initiate extracurricular arts involvement on their own. Many kids around the world who begin artistic endeavors in school go on to become artists. It's like any other subject- you teach it to them so they can learn, but some kids get really taken with the ideas and decide to do it for the rest of their life, whether it starts in a basic class or further on into their schooling. If we cut down on arts education, you risk losing kids who make the arts into a lifelong passion like that, or at least making it significantly harder for them to discover it. What happens then?


A common argument against arts education is that it's impossible to make money from them. Why include them so much in our education? However, this demonstrates a number of misconceptions about schooling in general. Do we learn history because we want kids to become historians, since that's a booming business right now? No. We learn it to avoid repeating mistakes from the past and to create a better future. Is physical education taught because we want all kids to become professional athletes, and that's a field overflowing with jobs? No. It's taught because it's good for our health to get our bodies moving. Extracurricular sports are often valued over curricular arts, and it's the same deal there.


Even still- look around. There's music playing through the earbuds of people walking by. Photo and video ads surround us. Movies are showing worldwide. You use websites with unique interfaces, and we read articles accompanied by photography daily. Yes, there may be ridiculously tough competition, but people can make a life out of art, even on the side. Our world wouldn't be the same if all its different forms weren't part of it.


Most of all, though, art is one of the healthiest means of release there is. As I mentioned with John Green - people can find understanding and refuge in the creation and consumption of art. Talking about emotions is good, but there's something about the rawness of art that makes it relieving in a whole different way. Participating in the arts can also give kids who are focused in academic subjects (including our country's precious STEM subjects) a break from the rest of their work. We need to encourage kids to take advantage of this outlet as early as possible.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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