April 17, 2013
The Importance of the Arts
Math was always my least favorite subject in school. I always had difficulty remembering the formulas and all the different rules. I didn’t do well in all the other core subjects either. With no motivation and no interest, my grades quickly suffered. I was always watching movies and television instead of doing homework. So when I saw that I could take acting class as an elective in high school, it was obviously my first choice. Acting class came a little more naturally than math class did. Memorizing lines to a monologue was much easier for me than formulas to some equation. It made me come out of my shell more and communicate more effectively. I began to look forward to tests, which were usually performances, because I would be adequately prepared from all my practices.
After taking acting class, I decided to take more performing art classes. Luckily the high school that I went to was the top public school for performing arts in the state. It allowed me to take chorus and dance along with acting. With so many classes I enjoyed taking and doing well in, my grades improved drastically. Taking all these performing art classes quickly became the salvation I needed and taught me many other important lessons. But towards the end of my high school years, funds were cut from schools again. The performing arts department in my school struggled to keep the program strong with the budget cuts. By the time I graduated, a few classes were cut and the ones that were left couldn’t afford the same things. These cuts affected other schools as well. For most schools across America, art programs were first to be cut. An article written by the Education Fund states that, “during these difficult economic times, arts programs are the first to be sacrificed. In addition, in many schools where classroom space is limited, art "studios" are now only contained in a cart that is wheeled by teachers from room to room, severely limiting the arts education students receive.” Although our program had not been cut, I was sad to see some of the classes go at my school among many others who enjoyed the arts. In an article written back in 2011 in the New York Times, Anna M. Phillips states, “The situation is likely to worsen next year if the city goes through with its plans to layoff 4,100 teachers to save $269 million. Estimates released in February project that 350 of those let go will be arts teachers, which would be a 15 percent drop in art, music and performing arts teachers.” With all the classes being cut, students will be the first to suffer. Why would they cut classes that students enjoyed to come to learn?
The Arts have become a vital addition in education to help students become more successful. I was firsthand to witness this. The Arts allow students who don’t grasp the teachings of subjects like math and English to learn in a way that is more easily understandable to them. Not all students are the same nor do they learn the same. In an article from USA Today online, Tamara Henry states, “Schoolchildren exposed to drama, music and dance may do a better job at mastering reading, writing and math than those who focus solely on academics.” Keeping art programs in school can help students do well in school and lead to successful futures. Though it is said that careers in the arts are limited and that being an artist isn’t a real job, Valerie Strauss disagrees. In article she wrote in the Washington post titled “Why we love artist but not the arts education” she states, “Top CEO’s around the world are seeking out new employees who can think creatively, be innovative in business development and marketing strategies and show outstanding leadership qualities that will “wow” clients. This is what businesses need to compete in the global marketplace. In a 2010 study by IBM, interviews with CEO’s representing 33 industries and 60 countries identified creativity as the most...