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The slow death of the arts in school?

2 minutes

The school year of 2011-12 is underway for most students, but in many schools there are a few things missing. One that stands out is the Arts. Now understand, I am writing this from the perspective of a non-creative who works in an incredibly creative environment, so I see the “fruits” of arts education on a continual basis.

But I am also a mother of four school-aged children who, thankfully, inherited the creative gene from Justin (whose life was changed by a teacher). And as this school year started I began to receive emails from the school district that explained cuts in programs to make sure their budgets were met. This is not news to anyone, nor is it restricted to just schools. But this article said it better than I ever could. Our kids need arts education and arts exposure. It can do nothing but enhance their education. The opening paragraph says it perfectly:

Arts education, on the other hand, does solve problems. Years of research show that it’s closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools: academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.

I have one son who struggles with classic school work. He was in Kindergarten, and reading and writing were torture for him. But his teacher saw this very early, and instead of trying to force traditional learning styles upon him, she utilized his natural artistic ability. He hated doing letter flash cards, so instead she asked him to make his letters out of Legos, and we got amazing 3D sculptures. Sight words were another struggle, but allowing him to write them on a pan filled with salt or shaving cream…he nailed them! Visual learning…I love it! Now, he is still going to have to work hard to get his reading and writing to where it should be, but through art, he has gained confidence and his school work as a whole has greatly improved. I can read all the research and articles, but I don’t even need to because I see it first hand with my boy.

Please notice that when I reference “arts”, I don’t strictly mean fine art. The exposure to music & dance, along with art are essential. There are programs like Project Osmosis that are trying to provide what is now lacking in our schools. We, at Rule29, are passionate about this and are trying to work with programs like Project Osmosis in our area. We also have a dream to, one day, change our garage at the office to art gallery and to offer workshops for all the arts there. Again, this is our dream. This is one way we want to help.

What can you do to keep the arts alive in your community?