YOUNG VOICES: The importance of art in schools

2014-01-06T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: The importance of art in schoolsBy Gina Twardosz nwitimes.com
January 06, 2014 12:00 am  • 

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way-things I had no words for.” –Georgia O’Keeffe

Passion. Jubilance. Complexity. Hope. This is what makes us human. This is what gives life zest and zeal. Painting, dance, theater, all canvases that demonstrate real meaning and prowess.

Personally, I’m highly offended about the thought of artistic classes being taken out of our schools. All the deep and intrinsic thoughts I've gathered for and about myself have come from my experiences in art, music, and theater. It saddens me that whenever (we) hit financial problems, the first thing that goes is the lifeblood of our society.

As society pushes further into hollow fortes, we’re beginning to lose meaning as a culture. Some kids have never even been to an art museum. Some will never go see a play or see a band/orchestra play.

But most of them have had an art teacher show them Starry Night, most have been to a school-sponsored concert, and most have been to a drama club play, and that’s thanks to schools.

Art programs within schools are a diamond in the rough. It is a part of the day where students can glean the beauties of life and society; a way to learn about themes and feelings of the soul while being in a fun and inviting environment. Without the arts, immersing our children in a world of color and imagination is futile.

Children are learning through artistic ventures how to navigate and appreciate life. Art gets kids involved. They’re working together and solving problems and being creative and having fun. Such a love for creating, for learning, will translate to other subjects; an appreciation of English and an increased cognitive approach to Mathematics, just to name a few.

For those who are not poetically inclined to believe the argument I have just laid, there is science to back up the importance of art. Artistic ventures improve cognitive thinking and memory.

Based on research done at the University of Zurich, playing a musical instrument and painting increase IQ, discipline, concentration, and planning; all important factors for excelling at school. I fail to see the benefit of cutting a program that provides so many key brain enhancing elements.

I cannot see how we are ever supposed to immerse children in these fundamentals without the arts. We want children to grow up well-rounded individuals with a deep and respectful meaning for life. How will they ever have great depth and understanding without the arts?

The world is not all black and white and equations and numbers. It’s vibrant and alive and mysterious and joyous — everything that art is.

Gina Twardosz, of Valparaiso, is a sophomore at Valparaiso High School. The opinions are the writer's.

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