Our education system is the backbone of society. It helps develop the next generation of dreamers, thinkers, and advocates. All children must have access to a solid and vibrant education to become well-rounded adults. Art is essential in creating a holistic experience for students. When integrated with other subjects, art helps facilitate creativity, focus, and critical thinking skills just as much, if not more, as other academic classes. With schools, single-minded focus on “core” subjects, and emphasizing standardized test scores, funding for the arts has either been cut from school programming or not offered. It has been measured and reported that this high-intensity level has increased stress in schools, families, and communities.
Research shows that arts education promotes higher attendance rates in schools. In addition, students who have access to arts education also experienced a 3.6 percentage point reduction in disciplinary infractions and an improvement of 13 percent of a standard deviation in standardized writing scores. Also, students who participate in an arts education program enjoy an increase of 8 percent of a standard deviation in their compassion for others. These students also self-report that they enjoy being on campus on days of art and look forward to attending all their classes. Higher graduation rates are more likely to follow if children are more inclined to participate in school.
Art is also multifaceted and can bring many people of various talents and backgrounds in a community together. Highlighting students’ talents through arts education and various art programs leads to a greater sense of identity, fosters inclusion, and builds community. Everyone loves to go to concerts or art shows, especially if the artists are your neighbors. Art education can genuinely enrich communities and bring people together.
The lack of arts education is increasing as budgeting has severely limited or wholly abandoned arts education. This is especially an issue in low-income communities. An arts education can keep students engaged in school and therefore foster a positive community. Additionally, when a school has an arts education program, higher attendance rates are reported, which correlates with lower crime rates and fewer school infractions. Although severely overlooked, arts education can be a defining factor in your community’s positive unity and engagement.
Learn more about how you can help communities gain access to and arts education here.