Why Art Programs are Beneficial to Students
From the perspective of an arts student…
Why is it that when budget cuts are needed in schools, art programs are often among the first ones to go? Sure, I’m an arts student so I should be asking myself this, but a program in art education provides students of all ages with a solid groundwork for their educational, emotional, social, and (most obviously) creative development.
Improved Learning Skills
I read once that programs in art education can ultimately help students to excel in other academic areas. Art programs have the potential to help improve a student’s memory and concentration skills, develop decision-making and critical thinking skills, enhance communication and listening skills, but also encourage focus and discipline.
As a student taking part in theater at school and who dances an excessive amount of hours throughout the week, I can confirm that what I once read is true. Although my memory isn't that good, I tend to stay focused during school, put myself out there in terms of communication and I find myself to also be a great listener. Over half of my friends are in the arts department too and they all have acquired these skills because of such a wonderful program.
Enhanced Social Skills
An arts education can also help a student to improve self-esteem and social skills. It’s known that children who participate in art education programs learn to work as part of a team and understand different points of views. Additionally, they are also capable of developing an understanding and an appreciation for different cultures, which then can translate to an increased sense of tolerance and social acceptance.
Little story: I had a friend once who wasn't at all enrolled in any type of arts like I was. I always tried to make him listen to different types of music and artists but he just shut my choices off. I tried so many times until I finally gave up. He was into what he knew.. period. Nothing could change that. I, on the other hand, liked to discover new music genres and open up to different perspectives, let people intrigue me and enroll me into their world. I accepted whatever came my way whereas my friend wouldn't even care to think what came rolling down his way.
Art programs encourage students to be creative and use their imagination as much as possible. As this increased emphasis on creativity happens, children cherish new ways of thinking about the world in general. Needless to say, art programs are a critical aspect in helping students to magnify their understanding of their place in relation to the rest of the world they live in. Students are often asked to “think outside the box” in terms of problem solving. Art programs encourage novelty and nonlinear thinking, skills that can be used not only in academic settings but in the professional world as well.
Being told by my teachers many times to let my imagination take me has definitely helped me outside of school, and outside of the arts departments and programs. I've opened up to new ways to solve problems that I would've most likely never even thought about if I hadn't had “thought outside the box”.
There’s a reason why schools offer arts education in the first place so why suddenly take it away? Sure, as mentioned at the very beginning, because of numerous budget cuts. See it this way, if the school can cut the arts department, can’t it cut one of the sports teams? There are so many sport clubs outside of school grounds where children and teens can join compared to artistic development areas, so why not keep the arts program and cut one or two of the less-membered teams? It’s for budget sake after all, isn't it?