Arts Education Programs Are On The Rise
Arts programs are rebounding from past cuts
The Los Angeles County Arts Commission recently released a report that shows that arts education in LAUSD is far more prevalent that many people expected — 89.6 percent of elementary schools–and 92.7 percent of secondary schools, to be exact. While that news is encouraging for arts education advocates, it should be noted that there are “deeply entrenched equity disparities for students of color, low-income students, and English language learners.”
Laura Fried, president of the Maine College of Art, sees the arts as a “key to navigating an ever changing world.” She thinks that education in the arts prepares students for problem solving, and looks forward to a bright future for the school.
In Philadelphia, the Barra Foundation announced over $2 million in grants to 43 area charities, many of which are arts related non-profits. “It’s just a phenomenal gift, to be able to get general operating support,” said Christine Cox, artistic and executive director of BalletX, one of the recipients. “Donors sometimes want to support specific projects, and often that can lead the organization to build too many tentacles. Having an acknowledgment of the work we’ve done from such a prestigious foundation is really gratifying and comes at a really critical time in our development as an organization.”
The evidence is clear that arts education benefits students outside of their chosen artistic medium in a variety of ways. Arts education improves critical thinking and allows students to better breakdown real world problems and makes them more effective in solving those problems.
So it is good news that the trend of cutting arts programs due to budget constraints seems to be reversing. With all the evidence that subjects like theater, dance, visual arts and music are so beneficial, any trend that those programs are thriving is positive.
Another critical life skill that participation in the arts teaches is collaboration. A stellar example of this is music students in Los Angeles and Sweden using the connectivity of the internet to collaborate on music projects in real time. The bonding that occurred eventually led to trips by the students to each other’s countries, an experience they’ll never forget.