Editor's Note (The View From Here)
Support for the Arts
- By Deborah P. Moore
- February 1st, 2017
There has been much talk about
cutting the federal budget and on the list of cuts
are cultural programs that receive federal funding.
These include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,
the National Endowment for the Arts
and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This should not come as a surprise, seeing how
many schools cut the arts when education budgets
were slashed. In recent years, however, I am seeing S.T.E.M. become
S.T.E.A.M. as programs for the arts are added back into the curriculum.
Schools have not become flush with money. Instead, many have realized
that humanities and the arts inspire creativity and imagination and are
important to the development of well-rounded individuals. The arts
should not be viewed as a hobby, a diversion or an afterschool activity.
They should be viewed as a necessary part of a student’s education.
A recent article by Muriel Gray that appeared in the U.K. publication
The Spectator states, “The benefits of the arts in learning are not
subjective. Studies have proved conclusively that teaching children to
read music and play an instrument in their early years can increase
their IQ. Hands-on participation in art and design is essential to
building an understanding of the visual world. Drama makes sense
of a complex emotional world, and interpretive movement can be
considerably more beneficial than many sports in promoting body
awareness, fitness, balance and a sense of beauty.”
Albert Einstein, one of the greatest physicists of all time, studied
piano and violin. He was quoted as saying, “The greatest scientists
are artists as well. When I examine myself and my methods of
thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination
has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute
knowledge.” (Calaprice, 2000). Einstein said that he never thought in
logical symbols or mathematical equations, but in images, feelings
and even musical architectures (Wertheimer, 1959).
The report “Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on
Learning” found that the arts can help change the learning environment
to one of discovery… and that is what learning is all about.
I am a perfect example of an arts education. Did studying music in
college help me in my current career? You bet it did. I still may not be
able to play the piano very well, but I learned so much more. I learned
about personal responsibility as well as teamwork. I developed both
analytical and listening skills. School wasn’t only about studying, it
was about experiencing. That is something the arts can do and something
I wish for every student.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.