Do Not Cut Back on Art

Life is not all about STEM. Whenever money is cut back on school budgets, art is the first thing to go. Child psychologists have espoused the data for decades. ArtĀ engages children and supports their cognitive, social-emotional, and sensory skills, providing for brain development, self-esteem, and creativity.

Creativity is different from talent. Art allows children to visually communicate, mainly for younger kids, that goes way beyond expressing oneself through words. Art teaches children to decide what color or how to get a mobile to spin. These are about solving problems, like mathematicians or scientists. There are social and emotional skills being used. Those skills help with fine motor skills. Most important, each self-expression. If you have ever seen a group of 1st graders decorate their own cupcakes, you know what I am talking about.

Our kid’s school made art a priority. They could because it was a private downtown school that was all about each child and progressive education. Many private schools are about rote memorization and STEM, but art not so much. The public schools get little choice based on their budget.

These days, I can’t help thinking that the anger coming from kids is directly connected to the pressure to succeed in math and science class and, of course, fit in. Cutting back funds on art takes away from the ability of kids to express themselves through art. Perhaps teachers would be able to see problems sooner through self-expression before a kid’s anger amplifies into grabbing a gun.

We need to fund art at the same level we invest in STEM. We all think differently, we all need self-expression, and art expression helps to work other parts of the brain to create mathematicians and scientists.