Within our school curriculum, we have the standard selection of classes, science, math, literature, and history, perhaps the occasional STEM or programming class. Art classes can also be found, but not always in the same quality as the other electives.
According to Liberty Classical Academy,
“during the 1999-2000 school year, 20% of schools offered dance and theatre classes, and 87% of schools offered visual arts classes. After these budget cuts were put into place, during the 2009-2010 year, for example, only 3% of schools allocated funds for dance, and only 4% offered theatre opportunities.” Many foundations and non-profits exist to try and get more funding into schools for their art programs, but is there really an incentive to do so?
Art classes are started quite young, since kindergarten, for a reason. They help young children with motor skills and problem-solving from a young age, which affects them well into adulthood. Music classes, on the other hand, teach students a new language, from how to read sheet music, to learning new vocabulary, music classes provide the same benefits as a painting class. These classes stimulate the brain and help practice disciplines such as patience, persistence, and improvement. Seneca Academy says on their website, “young people who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair, or to win an award for writing an essay or poem than children who do not participate”. The average art-class student receives around 91 points higher on their SAT tests than a student that skips such classes.
Ok, so art classes are important. Why do schools not promote them as much? Budget cuts have affected around 80% of schools around America, and efforts to get music, theatre, art, and many more creative classes have mostly been from outside organizations. Even schools themselves have a benefit in art classes, “When schools integrate the arts across the curriculum, disciplinary referrals decrease while the effectiveness of instruction and teachers’ ability to meet the needs of all students increase”. Teamwork, flexibility, creative problem solving, and leadership skills are all taught in drama and music classes, shaping students’ identities and preparing them for the real world, while also increasing self-positivity and confidence in themselves.
Supporting schools is important now more than ever, since the coronavirus pandemic and the effort to get students back to in-person learning. Please consider donating to organizations such as Art in Action or Art&Creativity For Healing to fund art classes in schools across America, and to raise the new generation of leaders.
Here are some links if you're interested!
A.R.T in Action: https://secure.squarespace.com/checkout/donate? donatePageId=608b72b8fb9e174477550295&ss_cvr=384692e8-8de6-4474-a9af-7ee64b3ae579%7C1634781007669%7C1634781007669%7C1634781007669%7C1&ss_cvt=1634781007669&websiteId=6085c2f9f186c82f77c5e770
Americans for the Arts: https://www.artsactionfund.org/formassembly/fa_form/40
Access Gallery: https://www.accessgallery.org/donate
“Arts Integration in School: 10 Reasons Why It's Important.” Seneca Academy, 11 Feb. 2019, https://www.senecaacademy.org/10-reasons-why-integrating-art-is-important-in-school/
Hofstetter, A. J. “Importance of Arts Education.” Liberty Classical Academy, 11 Aug. 2021, https://libertyclassicalacademy.org/importance-arts-education/
McDonald, Jen. “Funding for Schools' Art Programs Ending?” Funding for Schools' Art Programs Ending?, https://www.kmsd.edu/site/default.aspx?DomainID=312&FlexDataID=3316&ModuleInstanceID=1237&PageID=383&PageType=3&RenderLoc=0&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108