It’s probably not any surprise that art and art education funding is gravely at risk, especially in the United States. There’s not a push for giving money to art schools or art programs, and many schools have slashed program funding and turned to private donors, or no donors at all. Where does this leave the creative adventures of our youngsters? Does this diminish some of the out-of-the-box thinking music, theatre and visual arts provides? Are we abolishing the idea that any passions in the arts are valuable? While some may argue that there are many reasons why arts should be the first program to be cut especially in such tough fiscal times, there are many reasons to see things differently.
On Why We Need Art
There have been a multitude of research studies conducted surrounding the benefits of keeping arts in schools. Even things as simple as taking students to a museum increases their abstract thinking and exposes them to diverse ideas. Even these types of field trips are diminishing in size, leading to diminishing critical thinking and test scores among students in the US. According to DoSomething.com’s list of 11 facts about arts education, schools and countries with strong core arts programs score consistently higher math and science test scores than those lacking arts studies. Art in and of itself can also help with mental health, as it offers a creative outlet for negative (and really, any type of) energies.
On Killing Creativity
You may or may not have seen Sir Ken Robinson’s phenomenal Ted Talk on how schools kill creativity (and if you haven’t, it’s helpfully embedded at the bottom of this section and at this link! Wow!). I do have to admit that I’m fairly biased coming from a non-conventional schooling background, but nonetheless, Robinson has some awesome points about how schools repress students’ creative energy, whether purposefully or accidentally. There are many things to blame for this, including lack of real-person interaction caused by technology, among others, and because society places much less emphasis on developing and nurturing creativity and creative thinking, according to an interview with educational psychologist Kyung Hee Kim. Newsweek published a really interesting article in 2010 which discusses the definition of creativity, how it’s measured and why it’s endangered in the US.
On What to Do About It
One of the major reasons I chose to write this blog post now is because I’ve been researching a lot of really interesting organizations and art education on Twitter. Art is perceived a really new way – with the rise of technology, art is getting more technological as well, and there’s so much noise on where to look. Artlog.com offers a great resource for finding interesting, contemporary visual art, and there are so many lesser-known artists popping up on sites like DeviantArt, Flickr, Tumblr, and more. And, of course, being aware and encouraging creative programs is key. Organizations like The Arts Empowerment Project, which helps empower women and girls through the arts, and Fund for the Arts, which offers fundraising for arts programs, help raise awareness and funds for creative programming and as a result, a more creative generation.