A Rich Picture
The Why and How of Arts Education
The Promise of Arts Education
More frequently than most of us can imagine, arts educators are functioning as change agents in the school improvement process. But for that to happen takes vision, creativity, and administrative support. The arts make classroom learning relevant, engage active learning, and provide a way for students to discover and learn to embrace the value and duties of citizenship. Far from being a 'frill,' arts education provides opportunities for renewal and reform.
Partners for the Arts
Districts everywhere are learning that collaboration is critical as they struggle to find the space, the time, and the money to keep arts alive in their schools. Meaningful arts programs have always had a rocky foothold in district budgets. Now, between No Child Left Behind’s focus on math and reading and business leaders’ belief that science and technology are the keys to keeping America competitive, the arts’ presence in the curriculum is becoming even more tenuous.
Drawing and the Brain
Arguments against arts education survive primarily because we have ignored much of the recent research on how the human mind develops when art is a consistent part of long-term instructional planning. Some exciting new developments shed light on the linkages among the arts, brain development, and academic success. Researchers in educational psychology have revealed surprising evidence about the positive effect the arts have on young learners, ranging from increasing math and reading scores to improvements in general cognitive abilities and social development.
Arts at the Core
The performing and visual arts challenge students to use reasoning skills—both concrete and abstract—to draw conclusions and formulate ideas. They encourage creativity and imagination, from concept to process to completion. And in districts both large and small across the United States, they enhance learning for students and adults alike, as these six programs demonstrate.