The Importance of Art in Schools

art-in-schools-debbie-koukoudianThere have been many studies in the last 20 years on the importance of art in schools. The study of fine arts in education has been long known to benefit the student as a whole, and even Plato commented many times on the correlation between studying music, dance, theater, and many visual arts like painting and sculpture to help improve the student’s overall performance in every facet of their learning.

When students are exposed to the arts, they are concurrently being exposed to their own culture. They are being allowed to express their views about current events and their own emotions. They are also being prepared to enter their culture as adults after their education, however, just as with the study of any core subject, you cannot have random or occasional exposure to the arts and still see the benefits. What are those benefits? The importance of art in schools is highly dependent on the benefits that most school administrators, teachers, and parents see when their students take an active role in art education.

Improved Educational Experience
It has been shown in several studies that look at dropout rates and GPAs of graduating seniors across schools and school districts, that art education programs are extremely important. It can enhance student’s creative thinking in many areas of life including tackling their studies. It also creates a more dignified student, teaches students to be better team players, and raises attendance rates and lowers dropout rates. When educators change the way they teach and incorporate the arts into their teaching techniques, students can have a whole new love of learning as they aren’t just being told to memorize and regurgitate data. Art education helps develop a student that, upon graduation, is more prepared to enter the workplace.

Physical and Mental Changes in the Student
Both brain scans and cognitive tests comparing students that have been exposed to art education in schools and those who have not, show a large disparity between them. Brain scans show that many areas of the brain are “lit up” when a student participates in art, which means that they are more active and being used to think more creatively. Fine motor skills increase with practical art education and many parents and teachers report that their students have a more even emotional balance than those who only focus on core class requirements. This emotional balance is not only important during communication in school, but when communicating in the workplace and with friends outside of school as well.

There are mental changes within a student that occur as well, such as an increase in self-esteem as well as in levels of motivation. Many people who study art can usually pick up on aesthetics in the world around them, as this is a skill that isn’t necessarily taught, but rather indirectly learned through the education in the arts. Students also learn to appreciate diversity and this is highly prized in any citizen the world over. Learning to think like one part of a larger world that you must make your way in is just one way that the importance of art in schools needs to be addressed when the school administrations are budgeting for future school years.

——————Studies About the Importance of Art in Schools
choir-class-debbie-koukoudianThe Arts Education Partnership published a study in 2002 that showed a clear link between drama, music and dance class/club participation and the improvement of grades in reading, writing, and math.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum published a study in 2006 that proved that an arts education while in school improved literacy function. Ellen Winner and Lois Hettland published a study in 2007 that said that it doesn’t matter that they’ve found no correlation between an arts education in school and academic performance in core classes; the participation in art education still provided other benefits outside of school and schools should focus on the entire person not just the student while they are at their institution.

These are not the only studies done on this topic and many continue to be done as budget cuts remove the amount of art classes or the time available for art to students.

To Put It Bluntly
We need to work together to protect our Art Programs in Schools. We need to be there to make sure these programs are not eliminated or reduced. There are so many fields that need young people who possess creativity. Looking at the importance of art in schools, you can clearly see that the entire student is benefited from this education. It creates a more well-rounded student and a more well-rounded citizen once they graduate. A young person with better decision-making habits, better language development, cultural awareness, and creative inventiveness. At CR Hill we are committed to supporting Art Education.