why arts education?Why arts education? The answers are many:
The arts transform the learning environmentWhen the arts become central to the learning environment, schools and other settings become places of discovery; school culture is changed and learning is improved.
The arts reach students who are not otherwise being reachedYoung people who are disengaged from schools and other community institutions are at the greatest risk of failure or harm. The arts provide a reason, and sometimes the only reason, for being engaged with school or other organizations.
The arts reach students in ways that they are not otherwise being reachedRecent educational research has produced insights into different styles of learning. The theory of multiple intelligences illustrates that students learn in myriad ways: linguistically, logically, spatially, kinesthetically, etc. This means that conventional classroom practices do not engage students with different learning styles. An education rich in the arts is more likely to reach students in more ways.
The arts connect students to themselves and each otherCreating an artwork is a personal experience. The student draws upon his or her personal resources to generate the result. By engaging his or her whole person, the student feels invested in ways that are deeper than “knowing the answer.” Experiences such as this enable young people to grow and connect with one another in new ways.
The arts provide new challenges for those students already considered successfulBoredom and complacency are barriers to success. For those young people who outgrow their established learning environments, the arts can offer a chance for unlimited challenge.
* Excerpts from Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning (1999) (PDF, 1.42MB)
Furthermore, notable education and political leaders agree that the arts play a critical role in education. In July 2004, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige sent a letter to 16,000 superintendents outlining the value of arts education. Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee’s new appointment as 2004-2006 Chairman of Education Commission of the States has recently launched an arts in education initiative, designed to inform education policymakers about the significance of arts education.