Remember the moment when your preschool teacher instructed you to dip your finger or smoosh your whole palm into the plate on the table filled with paint and subsequently onto the white canvas spread out in front of you? Remembering those squiggles and doodles, thinking strategically about how this paint on your hands could create a thing of beauty? It was almost as invigorating as playing with your food! The gooey, sliminess of the paint going throughout your fingers and under your fingernails, a messy experience but unforgettable at the same time -- an experience that most adults secretly recreate in their spare time. When looked at on the surface, it seems like an activity just for play and for fun but is actually an occurrence that is extremely important to the overall development of children. Contrary to popular belief, finger painting and art and crafts is used as a tool to engage and inspire youth, to develop skills in communication, problem solving, social, emotional, and motor. Art is an enabler – healthy activities lead to healthy choices, resulting in positive lifestyle changes.
In 2011 during the unveiling of the iPad 2, Steve jobs stated: “It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” Steve Jobs was a huge advocate for arts education, showing how the combination of business and innovation is essential in the creation of a successful business – a model and platform that should be adopted by all. Some argue that America was built from citizen’s innovative spirits – being able to create something new, something useful, something utilitarian and ingenious. Innovation does not directly come from learning times tables and addition but generating a synthesis of heuristic abilities and intellect.
My hopes are that through this blog there will be a greater awareness and higher level of support for the arts. To carefully contemplate some of the greater debates revolving around this topic and sift through the ways in which arts education is beneficial. I hope to discuss areas – city, states, nations – that are already successful in providing art education courses and finding out how those courses correlate with the success of their youth. It will be paramount to look at the way in which these areas were able to sustain and accomplish the creation of an arts education program in its school system.
We, Americans, often forget that we are more than machines, more than profit seekers and should concern our lives with humanistic characteristics, attributes that seem to have been forgotten about and thus, are not fostered and developed through coaching and instruction. We’ve also forgotten how important it is for kids to be kids and play. It should be our goal as citizens to create balance, realizing that there isn't an opportunity cost for children. Americans have also forgotten about the political implications and advantages of art education in the long run: art and culture legitimizes a country, proven through history. With this first post, topics and themes have been discussed on a macro level, going forward will consist of taking a more micro look at these topics. Ultimately answering: Why is art education important?