Well Helloooo there!! It’s been a little while since I last wrote a post. But not to fret, ‘cus I’m baaackkk! ;)
So, today, September 14th*, marks the first “official” day of National Arts in Education Week. But I declare all of September National Arts in Education Month! Why? Because the arts are important! And I feel strongly about this topic.
I was that nerd growing up in the public school system who did all of her homework, participated in class and even tutored her older brother and some of her friends. I was the nerd who cried when I was sick, in fear of having to miss school (yes, I was that girl – *chuckles). But I also was a regular kid. A kid who sometimes was too antsy and too hyper to listen attentively to monotone teachers and boring movies for 7-8 hours a day, 5x/week (well 6x/week, if you include Saturday tutoring at Cal State Long Beach). Nevertheless, I needed a break. I needed some excitement. I needed balance.
Arts education gave me that balance.
The harsh reality is: sometimes being in the public school system means one have to deal with bullies, gangs, drugs, overcrowded classes, poverty and an array of other distractions. This is not to say private schools do not have similar issues. I am only giving an account of my experience in public schooling. That being said, arts education provided and currently still provides (for as long as law and state budget-makers will permit), an outlet to students who not only need an escape from monotony, but also students who need an escape from their harsh realities, in and away from school — for example, personal psychological issues (like eating disorders and depression), abuse, gang affiliation, bad neighborhoods etc.
Arts education encourages and damn near forces the participant to use his/her imagination. How, you ask? Well, much, if not all, of the arts require some form of creativity. And in my opinion, creativity comes from seeing something done and using wisdom + our imagination to push the envelope even further. Creativity comes from actual dreams. Its the result of being inspired. And we all know inspiration is all around us, from our environment and life’s events to magazines and museums, inspiration is everywhere and comes in many different forms. Like reading a book, arts education is a swell way to invoke innovation and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.
Still question if arts education is worth your tax dollars?
Why not ask your little ones how they feel about art, dance, music or theatre class? I mean, hey, I’m just a creative person who has always made everything art-related in order to enjoy and appreciate it enough to comprehend and retain the information…
Hey, it makes even more sense now that I further think about it. I was always pushed to be an excellent student and trained to earn good grades. But more often than not, getting that ‘A’ was easier said than done. So I learned to apply what I loved most and excelled in – arts education – to just about every subject in school. Even today, I pull from my days of arts education. I mean, who cares if by playing the violin for 5 years helped developed my auditory skills which enabled me to effortlessly spell tricky words and learn a new language… not to mention is responsible for the countless number of compliments I receive on my excellent, confident posture (to name a few examples ;).
But don’t take my word for it. Ask your kids.
*Note: some organizations proclaim National Education Week to be September 7-13