Art Essay Introduction
The word art reminds me of my favorite actors like Morgan Freeman, great musicians like Bob Marley, and painters like Pablo Picasso with his masterpiece “Old Guitarist." When the “NO Child Left Behind “ Program was introduced in 2001 and signed into law in 2002 by Former President of the United States (POTUS) George W. Bush, it negatively affected the art education since the law insisted on improving the overall performance of schools in non-art related subjects (Klein n.d). The topics were Mathematics and Sciences, the reason being it will help propel the economy of USA and keep it at par with competitive countries. This program led to teachers concentrating more on non-art subjects and taking more time in revision and course work. Art ended up lacking funds and being dropped or ranked optional in some schools.
One of the reasons why art is undervalued in schools is because the vast majority of the society believes that most art graduates end up with unstable jobs. In fact, these graduates are referred to as "starving artist." According to them; one may have a project for one week and none for the next months, hence it lacks stability. Therefore, for a student to rely on art as a source of income, they need to have excellent artistic skills and their ability to market themselves. Also, turning your love of art into a career can backfire in that you no longer do it according to your terms and schedule, but you have to conform to the need of the customer and be spontaneous, which stifles creativity and leads to stress and as a result not satisfying the customer needs.
However, today the vast opportunities that lay out there, in the fashion, music, tattooing, land scalping, architecture, graphics and designing, comedy, dancing and acrobats industry, proves the importance of art. Advancement in technology has made, the film, printmaking, game design, and animation professions among others consider art as a prerequisite. Hence, children pursuing art are assured of a job opportunity. Indeed, The National Endowment for the Art noted that there would be an increase in demand for art graduates especially in the information technology sector by 2018, this means that art students are highly recommended to have good computer skills so as to be at par with the ever growing market. Apart from art scholars having opportunities in digital careers, students doing fine arts will, for example, be able to quickly sell and market their products worldwide through the Internet without relying on third party galleries. Even if some people think art education is unnecessary, and that student need to focus on the main subjects like mathematics and sciences. Countries are witnessing an influx of graduates who have certificates in these key fields but do not know how to utilize them practically. One reason behind this is that they were forced into a system from a young age and were not given the opportunity to pursue their passion. This crisis is happening in developing and developed countries. This implies that art should be taken serious and be treated equally as important as the rest of the subjects (Dwyer 27).
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Ellen Winner of Project Zero, an arts education program at Harvard Graduate School of Education said that even though arts is beneficial kids should not take a lot of art classes since they will not improve in their core subject areas in other words art should not dominate a child's time in school. Another, Abramson notes that when STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics).subjects are mixed with art lessons, some pupils get carried away in the art lessons and start performing poorly in the primary subjects. This school of thought has the opinion that even if art seizes to be taught in schools, art students can always find an alternative somewhere else by taking private lessons. In fact, it is worth noting that according to the Time magazine, United States of America is placed 25th in Mathematics and 21st in Science, putting them behind developing nations. For this reason, students need to spend more time in the classroom and less time in the art studio. They should put more effort in sciences and other vital subjects.
On the contrary, according to the Art Education Partnership report retrieved from 62 different studies that were done by 100 researchers’, school children who do dance, music and drama become good in reading, writing, and mathematics. The report further states that these kids are more motivated in life, socially skillful and do better on standardized tests. Even though art is not a universal remedy for poor performance in schools and among students, it is a valuable asset for teaching especially children from poor communities and those doing remedial studies (Abramson n.d). Dwyer, in his book "Reinvesting in Arts Education" found that integrating arts with various subjects can help improve a student's learning process and grade levels. He further states that research done in Maryland School proved that visual arts improve a child's reading abilities and counterparts fostered in playing an instrument could be applied to mathematics (40). It follows that art education will help a student have a purpose and urge to come to school, attend his classes, boost his courage and become participative in class. As a result, he will successfully graduate. It is also worth noting; art is first used in elementary school as the basis for teaching children. The use of pictures, paintings, symbols, music, and dance is vital to the mental growth and development of a child before he starts tackling mathematics and science in class.
Third, art education helps in the conservation of a community's culture and gives children the opportunity to learn and appreciate different cultures across the globe. Art gives students the opportunity to interact with various people who have a variety of tastes in art. This can either be a fellow artist or customers they meet in exhibitions or museums. The book clear points out that children who come from humble backgrounds do not get exposure to art education and by introducing art in public schools the government will close the socioeconomic gap, creating equity in the acquisition of art education. The fact that art is expensive in some places was brought about by the years the government and education organizations have spent suppressing its growth. For example, President Obama during the State of the Union address emphasized the importance of education in this rigorous global competition. He said that people need to win the race in educating the American kids and that proper education needs to be enforced. Drastic measures ought to be taken and use only the necessary material in the process. He was referring to schools forgoing art as a mainstream subject in schools. All these sentiments have led to the creation of a surge in demand, and some people are taking advantage. Chiefly art helps improve the social life of children, for instance, a classroom of mathematics or accounting will have quiet and serious students doing their work independently. Though there is nothing wrong with that, you cannot compare it with music, dancing or drama class. The degree of interaction in the art class is high, presentation, relationship, and communication skills are entirely learned. Also, real-time decisions on projects assigned are seen and that fosters responsibility.
Art Education Importance
Notably, a majority approves that art education is important for special schools that deal with children with disability since it helps teachers convey their message to the students and assist them to learn like the rest of the children. Also, they approve that it is used in hospitals to help autistic children and the mentally challenged children and patients. However, Hetland and Ellen, in their study of arts and academic performance, found out that art helps children (whether with a disability or not) improve their visual analysis skills, learn from their mistakes and become creative therefore helping them in making better critical judgments (3). Also, through art children develop their motor skills, art activities such as dance, drawing and painting, textiles and sculpturing help them in building muscles and improve mobility and physical growth. They become aware of the environment around them and also their dexterity in writing and performing tasks improves, furthermore, art has emerged as the basis for hobbies among children and adults. The fact that we have seen people realize their artistic abilities in their adult life gives us proof that children should be exposed to art education nurtured and encouraged.
In conclusion, there are many myths, misconceptions, and confusion facing art education. Myths that art has a sameness to them which can be reduced to a common denominator in the education scheme. The truth is that drama is different from visual arts, which is different to music, which is different to dance. New technologies and media are being manipulated and merged in a creative and unpredictable way to produce art which confronts mainstream cultural production. Media is different from other art forms. Also, art education will help countries pass their cultures from one generation to the other and let people know and appreciate them at the same time. Some people, though, feel that art teachers are biased towards a particular type of art.
The Government and art department should introduce learning and teaching methodologies that will deal with critical pedagogy and critical theory arising from the young generation. They should put into consideration contemporary art and its influence on the student in the 21 Century. Even though parents recognize the importance of arts in educating their children about themselves and their culture. They steer their children away from art towards something more "purposeful" in life. This leads to some art students feeling guilty because the community views art as a soft option or a corrupt influence (Boyd 10). However, art is taking a major turn for the better, jobs are being created and the demand for art increases especially in music and designing. The government should consider teaching art in school and find a way of integrating it with STEM subjects. The combination of different topics is what makes one a qualified graduate and profession. Just like the way students have to do chemistry, physics and biology before deciding on which to specialize.
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