A Creativity Crisis

Why the Arts Deserve More Attention

Alexis Osowiecki, Editor

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Funding for the arts has long been an issue with schools throughout the nation, with art often being neglected or passed off as silly and unimportant. Whether it is a lack of funding or simply an unwillingness to integrate the arts into a school system, the limited availability of art programs in schools is concerning. 

Beyond simply providing joy to those students who love art classes, art programs provide many rewards. Promoting student involvement in art can help encourage kids to pursue potential careers, help people earn/raise money, and bring attention to artists. Miss Porter’s, a school in Farmington, CT, planned to host an auction of works made entirely by female artists, according a recent article in the New York Times. The arts are a great way to express different political views, opinions, and to help spread word about a subject or topic. In the case of the people at Miss Porter’s school, their cause was female representation in art.

But no matter your political standing or personal cause, expression through art is important and is open to everyone. Well, to everyone who has the privilege of being a part of a community that funds it. For many people in the United States, exposure to the arts within a school community is not a reality. When schools go through times of budgetary constraints, art classes are often the first classes to be cut. According to statistics from State Impact Oklahoma, between 2014 and 2018, when the state of Oklahoma underwent heavy budget cuts, around 1,110 fine art classes were taken out of schools.

Benefits of art education in schools include exposure to a diverse array of topics, such as historical events and modern political opinion, enhanced learning, relaxation, and enjoyment during an otherwise stressful day. The arts open opportunities for students to debate and discuss topics that might not be covered in their classes and allows students to expand their mindsets. They bring students joy and time to develop their hobbies and interests, but art education goes beyond just having fun. According to the nonprofit Brookings Institution, in adulthood, “arts participation is related to behaviors that contribute to the health of civil society, such as increased civil engagement, greater social tolerance, and reductions in other-regarding behavior.” Art has proven to be beneficial in adults and as a result, improves society as a whole. Art helps to promote social acceptance and better the behaviors of people. It is important that we provide these same benefits to children because it has been proven that art enhances learning capabilities in students and help heal past trauma. As mentioned in an article published by Scholastic, art can aid in developing skills in several areas, and participation in art activities can help strengthen synapses between brain cells. Practicing math, science, language, and social interaction are all made easier by art. Participation in art activities can also help children who suffer from trauma, as art stimulates parts of the brain in order to help the minds of trauma victims heal.

The arts are a vital part of education and encourage creativity in young minds. There are endless benefits. The idea that the arts are not important or that they just are not as essential as other subjects is false. If art were to be absent in our world, the impacts would be drastic. So many innovative ideas exist because of the arts.

One of the most popular examples of an artist with an impact is Leonardo da Vinci. Most people, upon hearing the name “da Vinci,” probably think immediately of the Mona Lisa, considered by many the most popular work of art. While da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is impressive, so was his ability to incorporate mathematics and science into his pieces. He studied and drew everything from human anatomy to architecture. Art goes beyond just painting and singing. It engages people in using outside tools and concepts. Modern-day science is reliant on da Vinci’s works, as noted by the History Channel: “As a result, he was lauded in his time as a great artist, his contemporaries often did not fully appreciate his genius-the combination of intellect and imagination that allowed him to create, at least on paper, such inventions as the bicycle, the helicopter and an airplane based on the physiology and flying capability of a bat.”  Da Vinci is a prime example of the link between art and other aspects of the world. He did much more for the modern world than simply just provide paintings and drawings. His contributions to mathematics and science are just as notable. His creativity and smarts together allowed him to make these contributions a reality. Without the works of da Vinci, such as his highly accurate sketches of everything from anatomy to early airplane models, the world would be unimaginably different. Can you imagine a world in which art does not exist? Art is what helped lay the foundation for the modern world. 

Promoting creativity within students holds the potential to also promote other aspects of education – the very aspects of education that receive greater funding than the arts. Da Vinci’s idea that science and art are intertwined, as noted by the History Channel, is one of the very reasons why we should put a greater emphasis on the arts. 

Region 10 schools are very lucky to have arts programs offered. Just recently it was announced that the 5th grade students of Har-Bur Middle School plan to attend a field trip to the Museum of American Art, where they will participate in an art-making workshop. It would be great if other schools could share in these types of opportunities, but sadly, this is not always the case. There are schools and students who are denied access to art in their school system for budgetary reasons or lack of support . There are students who will be denied the chance to discover a passion they never knew they had, instead potentially being forced into a career that they do not enjoy. There are children who are being denied their futures. 

Donating money or even donating time to volunteer for an arts program are both incredible ways to help. Art is as essential to our modern world as electricity, both having paved the way for advancements in science. Should art continue to be neglected, society will only suffer. Schools everywhere need to put more of their funds towards supporting and establishing art programs. It is imperative that we stop prohibiting the creativity of students.