“The arts play critical role education. When learning is approached through, with and by the visual and performing arts, creativity is cultivated, innovative thinking is fostered and imagination is both celebrated & enhanced. Learning occurs with far greater depth and breadth, thereby increasing retention, comprehension and academic achievement. Student engagement, intrigue, higher order thinking skills and motivated pursuit of lifelong learning are catalyzed. The effects upon students’ social, emotional and cognitive growth are tremendous and invaluable. Moral, practical and ethical character traits are developed and strengthened. Culture- our humanity, is celebrated, developed and perpetuated. Without these significant and research-proven effects, the progress of our society cannot be ensured. Yet still… we’ve seen nothing but degeneration in the presence of and given value to the arts in education. Perhaps we ought to call them something different? Maybe then, they will listen, they will respond, they will act… they will search creatively for ways by which to provide the arts, for all…”
“The Creativity Crisis in the U.S. is very REAL. Creativity is being suppressed in today’s schools rather than cultivated and nourished. Innovation and progress is being stifled. Meaningful, purpose driven and effective learning has become a novelty. We’re starving for culture and healthy modes of expression. We’re thirsting for purpose and meaning as we’re neglecting to foster the creativity that is innate in us all. Humanity is dying. Employers already are complaining that college graduates are lacking the social skills, resourcefulness, critical thinking and other vital skills needed for success, employment and fulfillment. The starving artist population is growing, reflecting a society that increasingly undervalues the tremendous power and potential of the arts. There are solutions, but your cheerleading is insufficient- your active help is needed. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what you can do… start asking around- you won’t have difficulty finding a need that’s waiting to be filled.”
Despite the tremendous positive impact that they make upon education, visual and performing arts programs are consistently among the first to be cut. To those who are well informed, this is baffling, as integrating the arts into curricular instruction is the single most effective approach to teaching and learning available- and that’s a research-proven fact. In addition to enhancing our learning and retention across disciplines, the arts teach us to effectively communicate. They foster our creativity and develop our critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The arts teach us empathy, compassion, collaboration and cooperation- and they help us to express that which we cannot convey otherwise, like our individualism. They heal us- emotionally and physically. Research even shows that students who are involved in the arts throughout their youth are far less likely to commit violent crimes as adults. The arts are the tools that enable us to enrich our culture, further the progress of our society and generate tomorrow’s problem solvers. Ultimately- the arts convey our humanity.
So, my question to educators and school administrators is this…. WHY THE JUNK ARE YOU NOT INTEGRATING THE ARTS YET???? …and don’t you dare tell me that it is because of budget issues. Total cost to integrate the visual and performing arts into your curricular instruction: $0.00 / year. Doubt it? DON’T! I did it for a decade!