The Arts create joy and success in education. Having taught art in Detroit for over 15 years, the path I choose was right. I love what I do. The arts are important to education because they bring a form of truth to learning and enrich curriculum while bringing joy to students.
A balanced curriculum rich in the Arts, like STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), boosts students’ creative thinking, propelling them to come up with new ways to answer probing questions. “The “A,” in partnership with STEM, asks students to think differently, imaginatively, and without the restraints of finding a right answer.” (STEM to STEAM). Partnered with technology, some arts support creative tool application, revealing how art and design may positively influence innovations created through technological means (Fournier, 2013). An art lesson may ask students to create something, apply certain skills, and meet certain assessment criteria, but art ultimately asks students to question; to develop their own questions based on what they see, hear, feel. From here, the future can have a hope for cures and innovation with the discoveries of extended inquiry. (Berger, 2014) Universities are preparing students for creative careers that do not yet exist. Without the arts, the learning environment silos and transdisciplinary learning leashes.
Art history teaches humanity and global diversity. Art helps students “see” the world; past, present, and future. Through art, cultural heritage bequeaths to younger generations who create their own artistic language and contribute to their global development. (Bamford. 2006) Over time, art has “persuaded masses of people to accept beliefs, take action, or follow leaders.” Strong visual images, music, and theatre are very powerful. The greats, like DaVinci, Picasso, Shakespeare, and Mozart not only teach techniques and process, but also combine with a content. During the Renaissance, artists studied reality, returning to the Greek & Roman classics. (Jirousek, 2009) Linear perspective for example, is a form of visual recording with geometric truth. See Ralphael’s, The School of Athens. (Wikipedia)
Educational policies rich in the arts exist in almost every country. Arts integrated programs paired with strong partnerships in both the community and its stakeholders provide successful student outcomes. (Bamford, 2009) Look at us. Cornerstone’s partnerships and support of the arts are evident in our district-wide concerts that collaborate with famous musicians, and visual art field trip to Art prize by Grand Valley State University. There are many, many other examples as well.
The sheer joy the arts bring to students is evident in a study of Missouri public schools in 2010. Students engaged in the arts had fewer disciplinary infractions and higher attendance. Not only are students in their seats getting education but the arts helped to increase graduation rates and test scores. (Scheuler, 2010) The process or creating in the arts in any form, even observing it relieves stress and releases endorphins that let you enjoy a sense of fulfillment. The arts are important in education, because they connect our hearts, hands and minds!