Often seen as an expendable curriculum, art education is often on the chopping block as schools try to balance their budgetary dilemmas. It is often seen as a luxury curriculum or something that has no value as support for other curriculum and high stakes testing. The truth is that arts education is an essential aspect of education that is necessary for turning out well-rounded students.
Art education holds many benefits to students and school districts and should be seen as a valuable partner in both primary and secondary education.
Having exposure to art education from elementary to high school allows and encourages students to develop creativity. All too often students are expected to complete objective based testing for knowledge. Art allows students to use their imaginations and to think for themselves rather than just regurgitate information.
Develops Fine Motor Skills
In young children art helps children to improve and develop their fine motor skills. Basic cutting and pasting as well as the holding of an art brush or colored pencil all develop a young child’s fine motor skills. These are essential as the child grows and develops into writing in cursive, typing on a computer keyboard, or playing an instrument such as a clarinet. Development of fine motor skills is the key to success in many areas as a child advances.
Develops Self Confidence
Art can be very helpful for children to feel that they are good at school. If a student struggles at math or reading, but can excel in the area of art, it gives the student something to feel good about in school. If that creative venue is taken away from them, they are more likely to do worse in school and not feel confident in their educational experience.
Practices for Process
One of the most valuable aspects of art education is that students learn to follow instructions. Usually art projects have a specific order of steps. Learning to follow instructions in a sequential order is a building block skill that is beneficial to students all through school. This same skill of sequential order applies to math, outlining a paper, or preparing a speech later on in middle school and high school. Art education helps students to understand sequential order concepts that are essential in other curriculum areas.
Prepares for Art Related Careers
Although the image may be that of the starving artist for those that choose art as a career, there are many careers that are related to the art field. Graphic design continues to be an important career in this age of web design. Advertising, theater set design, presentation designs for business are a few other possibilities. Artistic background helps in careers such as landscaping and building trades. Art seeps into nearly every career in some respect, so even if someone doesn’t have the ability to be a famous artist, artistic experiences can be important to success in other careers.
Improves Visual Acuity
Participating in an art class helps students to develop their visual abilities. Students develop a sense of size, proportion and relationships. In young children art education can be a successful way to teach concepts such as top and bottom, left and right, over and under, and other perception concepts. It is through exposure to art that students develop the sense of size and proportion. This is a concept that is a lifetime skill. Having a proper sense of proportion applies to food serving sizes to selecting a sofa for a living room. During the course of an art class students develop and intensify their visual acumen.
Students, who have exposure to art classes, are more likely to have the ability to look deeper beyond the surface. These students are able to look for specific details in a piece of artwork and can apply that same skill when reading a piece of literature. A student who can analyze the theme or message in a piece of artwork can also analyze theme and content in literature. Students with exposure to art develop a sense that not everything is just black and white. They understand that there are many shades of gray also.
Instills a Lifetime Interest
Nurturing a love of art can become a lifetime hobby or interest. Painting, drawing, sculpting and other art genres can be a source of relaxation as well as being a positive outlet for time and energy. This can also carry through to appreciating the artwork of others. Later on as an adult this art student can have an appreciation of art for their own purchase and enjoyment.
Art education should not be seen as a luxury class. Instead art should be seen as a partner in education that helps cognitive ability as well as developing lifetime skills. Art is an important part of the educational experience that should be highly valued by school districts.