We need our artists

As I squeezed out one of the fresh, new acrylic paints I had received for my birthday, I observed the deep baby blue color that had poured onto my wooden palette. I held my paintbrush and began to swirl and blend it in with the existing royal purple. I took my brush and carefully stroked it onto the blank canvas. I was mesmerized by the deep periwinkle that painted it. With a flick of the wrist, I created a small curve and soon created a singular petal which then turned into an entire flower. I stood back admiring my handiwork. Painting brought me euphoria and serenity. Yet when friends and family ask me why I wont pursue art beyond my collection of a few paints at home, I simply say: It is not realistic. I have not allowed myself to take a single art class despite the numerous electives that are offered at my high school, let alone consider it as a career path. I am a victim of society’s expectations and norms of success and advancing with art wasn’t a conventional route to this success.

Pursuing art is often looked down upon, due to the limited success which comes along with it. With today’s fast-paced world, booming with technology and new innovations to simplify human life, there has been a greater focus on STEM-related fields more than ever. These fields are sought out to be more useful for society and are money makers. This leads to the neglection of majors in the arts, which are seen as less significant to the development of society. Art is seen as something we do as a hobby or to pass time. Many wonder, “How can learning how to play the piano or painting a scenery be truly beneficial to an individual and society as a whole?”

Government officials have even begun cutting state funding for certain majors that they don’t believe is useful for the economy. Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, suggested cutting state funding for French Literature and other similar liberal art majors to promote more STEM majors, since the latter was deemed more beneficial to today’s society (Lynch). These majors lead to higher paying jobs which makes them more desirable and valuable to even people who have no interest in pursuing these careers. Liberal arts majors often don’t lead to new technological advancements or innovations or to as many higher paying jobs which causes people to stay away from not only these majors, but art itself. Just pursuing it as a hobby is seen as a waste of time and disadvantageous. Focusing on science or math is profoundly known to be more profitable and less risky than becoming an artist. Yet what goes noticed is the significance of art’s impact on cognitive skills and understanding of the world. Art’s prominence caves its way through society through it ability to broaden our experience and promotion vital life skills

Throughout history, art has been a form that has granted people the ability to witness and see things that they wouldn't have had the opportunity to do otherwise. They allow us to visualize our past, future, and present. With cinematography, we are able to watch movies with various setting, perspectives, stories, and adventures. In the movies such as 12 years a slave, we are able to clearly see the hardships many slaves endured through the craftsmanship of directors, producer, and actors . We are able with empathize for the character’s adversity. This is a perspective that we would have never had the ability to encounter without a group of people that valued the beauty of art. Great literature, films and visual art transport us to different places and cultures; great art even allows us to see ourselves and our own community through a different lens. Cornell University’s president, David Skorton, states that, “our nation’s future may depend on our creativity and our ability to understand and appreciate the cultures around the world as much as on our proficiency in reading and math” (Prey).

Art allows us to do this in a special form like no other. As we live in an increasing diverse society where different races live together more than ever in history. Art is incorporated into every culture and holds a significance within that culture. This art gives us greater insight into different cultures and gives others insight into ours. Understanding history is very important in our society to understand how and why the certain areas of the world function the way they do. We are able to decipher a possible foundation to their morals and values. Art encourages our ability to do this since it is a form that has been around since the very starts of many civilizations. Ancient drawings and hieroglyphs carved into pyramids, stones, or artifacts allow us to see the past lives of the Egyptians in a new light. We are able to observe hieroglyphs and understand what they mean and how they influenced Egyptian culture. By understand Egyptian culture, we are able to gain greater insight into the history of man and understand what influenced the world today.

In addition, rt’s universality can unify different people. Since we live in this increasingly diverse society, the images of different groups in the media may also present mixed messages. “If a child is playing with a toy that suggests a racist or sexist meaning, part of that meaning develops because of the aesthetics of the toy — the color, shape, texture of the hair,” says Freedman. When children are taught to consider the choices an artist or designer makes in portraying a subject, it helps them understand the concept that what they see may be someone’s interpretation of reality (Lynch). Community morals, or an ensemble performance promotes collaboration despite possible language barriers because art is a universal language. Art gives humans the ability to broaden their experience and learn better about themselves and the citizens of the world.

Furthermore, art education has contributed to stimulating the brain and its effects amplify many aspects of life. Exposure to art education promotes self-directed learning, improves school attendance and sharpens critical and creative skills (Bush). Music for example, has lead to advances in math achievement. Students who study music, outperform their non-arts peers on mathematics assessments. Even if one doesn't want to pursue a career in art, their careers can be benefited with time invested in arts such as music. Arts integrated math instruction also facilitates mastery of computation and estimation skills, and challenging concepts like fractions.

It also promotes creativity which is a vital skill for even an office (Preparing Students for the Next America). When kids are encouraged to express themselves and take risks in creating art, they develop a sense of innovation that will be important in their adult lives. “The kind of people society needs to make it move forward are thinking, inventive people who seek new ways and improvements, not people who can only follow directions,” states Kohl. “Art is a way to encourage the process and the experience of thinking and making things better!” (Lynch). It allows people to express themselves in a unique way with no boundaries which allows them to think creatively in other aspects of life. An engineer can think of a new, creative innovation that can change the world. Art promotes thinking in unconventional ways which is beneficial in many fields. Creativity is needed in order to advance as a civilization.

The importance of art education is losing its significance due to today’s world where everyone is competing to become the most successful and the richest. Colleges have even stopped funding art programs. This world need our artists, musicians, and writers, just as we need our engineers, doctors, and lawyers. It ignites a more creative brain and foster a unique society with different open perspectives. Overall, art is essential and its assets enhance and impact society positively.