Have you ever come across a parent who tries to belittle art? Perhaps it’s in the middle of a parent-teacher conference or during a back-to-school night conversation. The typical commentary of the parent is that art doesn’t directly translate into a job and therefore art does not provide an opportunity to make money. Sometimes parents will question the academic worth of the arts in general and see them only as an easy way for students to get an “A” on report cards.
If you are ever caught in a similar situation, here are 7 responses to the question, “Why does art matter?”
1. Creativity is Prioritized Worldwide
The arts are all about creativity. In the 21st century, organizations across the planet are claiming that creativity and innovation are the most important skill-sets to acquire. Workers require creativity. Producing ideas, solving problems, and finding ways to make ideas come to life are essential for 21st-century work. Taking the arts in school helps develop creative and innovative functioning in the brain and gives students opportunities to grow in these areas.
2. The Arts Foster a Strong Work Ethic
Many students come into art classes with little or no prior experiences in art. The challenges of acquiring new technical abilities, applying new academic content, and mastering hands-on problem-solving fosters determination and grit. Strong art classrooms cultivate hard-working students, and work ethic can enhance any aspect of life.
3. The Arts are College Requirement
Sometimes parents do not make the connection between the arts and higher education. As the cliché goes, students go to college to become doctors and lawyers and the arts do not fit into this narrow view of academic pursuit. However, many universities require students to fulfill one or two years of the arts before they can even apply. California, for example, holds A-G requirements that students must complete to become eligible to apply to a university. One of these requirements is one full year in an arts program. The arts are now recognized as essential to the holistic academic skill-sets in students and are becoming mandatory pre-requisites for college entry.
4. The Arts Enhance Understanding of Other Academic Content
The arts help students internalize and apply content across subject areas. Interdisciplinary work and programs such as STEAM capitalize on the power of the arts to enhance learning across content. Art provides students with the creative tools and skills to take what they learn in other subjects and apply it to work that communicates their understanding. The traditional model trains students to memorize information and regurgitate it on a test, and then forget all the information later. Students better internalize information when creating artwork that incorporates knowledge, content, and understanding of multiple subjects.