For many people who successfully found a career working in the arts, looking back on their high school years is often painful. Sensitive artistic types with unique and valuable perspectives can feel, from a young age, that they are different from other kids – and not necessarily in a good way. In large cities, there are often alternative art schools that offer a sanctuary for kids who quickly realize their calling, but for the most part, future writers, painters and actors have to slug it out in the hallways of regular public schools.
While most states in America and provinces in Canada are cutting back on funding to the arts, the importance of providing these kinds of programs is actually becoming more important. Kids are more alienated than ever from growing up in a digital culture, and face a future that seems confusing and uncertain. Not only would increasing funding to arts programs help some children find their path sooner, it would also provide unexpected tools for children interested in a more traditional career.
While regional governments are cutting programs that encourage abstract thinking and use of imagination, these may be the very tools that are most valuable to young people. Band and theater programs encourage adolescents to learn teamwork and take pride in personal expression, and visual art such as painting and sculpting has been shown to have a calming effect on anxiety addled minds. Furthermore, if this kind of programming was available and encouraged in all public schools, abstract and practical thinkers alike would interact more, creating a bridge between the two cultures.
For the remainder of this post, we’ll take a look at 2 of the best reasons to encourage and support funding to arts programs in public schools:
- School Pride/ Individual Morale
When a school presents a play or hosts a great jazz band recital or art exhibition of student work, it creates a sense of morale and pride that invigorates the student body and shows kids the payoff of hard work. When you know you put your full effort into something and then have an opportunity to present it to a sea of proud friends and parents, it can be quite exhilarating. Certainly, sports and science fairs are a good source of morale too, but self-expression has the added benefit of helping kids find their voices and develop their personalities.
- Meditation/ Relaxation
With drawing and music especially, there’s a tendency for the worrying part of the brain to shut off and give in to the flow of the work at hand. Drawing can be lonely, but it also calms the mind and helps young people understand the texture of their own emotions. Music programs allow for kids to create something beautiful and exciting together by rehearsing famous compositions and feeling the magic flow through their instruments like it was an extension of themselves. Some schools have funding for music programs, but can’t afford enough instruments for everyone who’s interested, but in this case you could always seek out music instruments for rent at an affordable price – if your kid likes music, it’s definitely worth it!