Fine Arts Programs
Why Fine Arts Education?
Knowing and practicing the arts disciplines are fundamental to the healthy development of children’s minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization (including ours), the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term “education.” We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks the basic knowledge and skills in the Arts. There are many reasons for this assertion:
- The Arts are worth studying simply because of what they are. Their impact cannot be denied. Throughout history, all the arts have served to connect our imaginations with the deepest questions of human experience. Who am I? What must I do? Where am I going? Studying responses to those questions through time and across cultures, as well as acquiring the tools and knowledge to create one’s own responses, is essential not only to understanding life but to living it fully.
- The Arts are used to achieve a multitude of human purposes: to present ideas and issues, to teach or persuade, to entertain, to decorate, or to please. Becoming literate in the arts helps students understand and do these things better.
- The Arts are integral to every person’s daily life. Our personal, social, economic, and cultural environments are shaped by the arts at every turn.
- The Arts offer unique sources of enjoyment and refreshment for the imagination. They explore relationships between ideas and objects and serve as links between thought and action. Their continuing gift is to help us see and grasp life in new ways.
- Research indicates that the Arts help students develop the attitudes, characteristics, and intellectual skills required to participate effectively in today’s society and economy. The Arts teach self-discipline, reinforce self-esteem, and foster thinking skills and creativity so valued in the workplace. They teach the importance of teamwork and cooperation. They demonstrate the direct connection between study, hard work, and high levels of achievement.
Arts education benefits the student because it cultivates the whole child, gradually building many kinds of literacy while developing intuition, reasoning, imagination, and dexterity into unique forms of expression and communication. This process requires not merely an active mind but a trained one. An education in the Arts benefits society because students of the arts gain powerful tools for understanding human experiences, both past and present. They learn to respect the often very different ways others have of thinking, working, and expressing themselves. They learn to make decisions in situations where there are no standard answers. By studying the Arts, students stimulate their natural creativity and learn to develop it to meet the needs of a complex and competitive society. And as study and competence in the Arts reinforce one another, the joy of learning becomes real, tangible, and powerful.
The educational success of our children depends upon creating a society that is both literate and imaginative, both competent and creative. That goal depends, in turn, on providing children with tools not only for understanding that world but for contributing to it and shaping it in their own way. Arts education is a crucial element in meeting that goal.