Art in Schools: a Playground or Training Ground?
Updated: May 11
By Allison Manzi
As technology advances, more importance is being placed on science, math, and business in schools. These trades have a high production value after graduation (for the student and society) which earns them more recognition and resources than their sister subjects.
Additional resources for these trades are often leached from our Art programs, because Art is stigmatized as frivolous or unrelated to a reliable future. Unfortunately, we are overlooking some crucial skills taught by The Arts that have an incredible impact on success as well.
By defunding artistic development in schools, we are blunting the development of innovation, creativity, wide-lens vision, and the ability to connect with each other beyond numbers.
The Arts are crucial for young minds in molding how they think, not just what they think about. Art is an active training ground that shapes the way our youth will approach decisions, arrive at solutions, and demonstrate resilience in every mission they take on as adults.
Science and technology develop a trade, while art and creativity develop the human. Art provides these sustainable skills that are transferable and far reaching—beyond any one trade or area of expertise:
Creativity stimulates the part of the brain that’s in charge of focus, memory, and learning. The more we practice creative skills, the more developed this area of the brain becomes.
Art practices even help improve blood flow to the brain, and release serotonin—our “feel good” hormone—which encourages us to stay engaged in the activity at hand.
Art teaches us to communicate in many forms, through various mediums. We are able to break down complex ideas into core human needs and connect on a foundational level. This reduction can help us connect to others through common ground, away from the distracting details of who, where, and how, etc.
Learning to think outside the box is a highly marketable skill. Art teaches us how to think without a self-judgement filter. We learn how to come up with ideas that exist beyond what we already know, without limiting ourselves to “that’s not possible” or “that’s never been done before”.
Art has no rules and is never objectively right or wrong, so we learn how to think freely without the fear of failure that hinders our ability to come up with new ideas.
Using an abstract medium often helps us connect to our inner self. Sometimes, we are unsure of what we are feeling and it’s a bit too obscure to name in our conscious mind. Art provides us with a vehicle to access our inner world, and creates a language that our mind can better understand so we can process our feelings, then let them go.
Art is often about vision. There is a skill to imagining something that you’ve never seen before. When we create, we make something out of nothing. That’s innovation. Art is constantly asking us to dream up something that does already exist and we are able to play in this “fantasy realm” without limits.
I’RAISE cares about developing powerful, innovative students who can attack their work with a cutting-edge mindset, no matter what field(s) they work in throughout their life.
The I’RAISE Arts Services program supports NYC students in grades K-12 socially and emotionally to help your child develop these skills and lead us into a brighter future. Refer our program to your child’s school to unlock their creativity and strengthen their mental wellness.
This is how we move forward—in business, technology, science, math, economics, and everything else we touch. Art brings the human to humanity. And no matter how much money we make, that’s something we can’t afford to lose.