I know. I haven’t been posting lately. . . well in over a year! It’s time to get back on the blogging wagon. I have been working to help American art teachers find their voice. They tend to express themselves visually, but now they need to help the American public and education leaders know why what they give kids in art classes is so much more than what you see.
It’s true that a 2005 Harris poll found that 93% of us feel it is important for kids to take arts classes in school, but many of that same 93% privately think art is expendable when tough budget choices need to be made. We question how continuing to take arts classes through junior high and high school will impact the future employment and life styles of our children, much less help solve the toughest challenges facing our nation and the world.
We love the cute refrigerator art our small children make. What we can’t see in those whimsical images are the unique skills the arts teach. Things like solving problems, processing divergent information, appreciating nuance, exercising critical judgment, understanding multiple perspectives, working collaboratively, developing multiple literacies (hey, we live in a visual world!), enabling self-direction and realizing self-efficacy. Whew! That’s quite a list.
But don’t take my word for it. Both education and brain research have proven that skills learned in arts classes enhance the way the brain functions and help connect the brain to our hands to turn ideas into images, tangible goods and innovative services. That’s what our business leaders say we need to maintain our economic leadership and the style of living we so value in this country.
Innovation. Creativity. Thinking outside the box.
Think iPads, Avatar, green building technology, or the imagination playground in my lower Manhattan neighborhood. http://www.imaginationplayground.org/
See the Advocacy section of the National Art Education Association Web site that I worked with NAEA leaders and staff to revamp to help arm art education advocates with more information about how the arts contribute to our kids education.http://www.naea-reston.org/advocacy
And, above all, help keep the arts in our schools!