The following is an essay I wrote to be presented as a speech for a language arts class. Enjoy.
22 March 2017
Arts Programs Should Receive More Funding
Across the country there is a startling pattern. Arts programs are increasingly being stripped of funding while core subjects and sports programs are receiving more money. This is a puzzling phenomenon, simply because of how beneficial arts are to learning and to the education system. Arts programs are not receiving the funds they deserve. Arts are constantly overshadowed by sports programs and academic activities. This overshadowing is causing many schools to overlook their art programs. The overlooked programs are generally seen as excess and are usually the first to be cut when budgets change. This should be reversed. Arts programs should not be the first classes to be cut, and they deserve adequate supplies and attention. Arts programs should receive more funding because they help with a multitude of developmental skills, because they provide unique learning tools for children, and because they improve performance in other areas of learning.
Arts programs should receive more funding because they help with a multitude of developmental skills. As children grow, developing skills necessary for life is hugely important. Art provides basic skills that most people use frequently, and also challenges children in unique and beneficial ways. According to the article “The Importance of Art in Child Development” by Grace Hwang Lynch, “art increases the development of fine motor skills in children.” Arts introduce children to concepts like holding and using pencils, or markers, or scissors with precision. These type of skills are necessary for future schooling and they carefully train muscle movements in children. They also aid in developing visual-spatial skills. In the article “Science Shows Art Can Do Incredible Things For Your Mind and Body” by Gabe Bergado, a quote from neuroscientist Oshin Vartanian states that “the parts of the brain associated with contemplation are sparked when viewing art.” As young children begin to contemplate art, their critical thinking and decision making skills will develop. These skills are essential to development in children, and art only enhances them. By funding arts in schools, child development can be greatly improved.
Arts programs should receive more funding because they provide unique learning tools for children. Many people argue that arts programs are only meant for leisure, when in reality, arts programs provide many unique benefits that are often overlooked. Arts challenge people to see average concepts in a nonlinear way, which boosts creativity and has perks in other areas of life. In the article “Art For the Brain’s Sake” Robert Sylwester mentions how “arts are good for those who do them and for those who observe them because both sides are being cognitively stimulated.” Those who create art learn how to express themselves and how to become more inventive and innovative. Those who observe the art learn how to think critically about art and how to understand others. Along with this, art inspires emotion and attention, which improve learning, problem solving, etc. An example of this is the Albany Park Theatre Project. According to George Heymont in the article “More Funding for School Arts Programs, Less For Sports”, the Albany Park Theatre Project helps children who have gone through rough times use art as a form of therapy. By creating props, sets, and original plays, children can use art to heal, learn about themselves and others, and learn how to deal with their struggles. The kids come out with a better understanding of how to take on the world. Art challenges children to think in new ways and teaches them to apply what they know to other areas of life.
Arts programs should receive more funding because they improve performance in other areas of learning. Art can be a fun application of core subjects that helps kids understand material better, because they combine many important brain processes. As previously stated, the parts of the brain associated with contemplation are activated when people view art, which leads to deeper critical thinking. In the article “Science Shows Art Can Do Incredible Things For Your Mind and Body” by Gabe Bergado, “a study done in 2014 [involving brain scans] showed that people who actively created art had increased connectivity in their default mode network.” The default mode network is the part of the brain that deals with processes like memory and introspection. Memory and introspection help children remember and interpret materials they read, such as in english class. These processes also aid in math, science, and language classes by helping students memorize words and formulas, and helping them understand their classes better. The statistics support this study too. According to a report by Americans For Arts, mentioned in the article “The Importance of Art in Child Development” by Grace Lynch, “young people who are involved in arts programs at least three days a week are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.” By giving arts programs more funding, kids would be given the opportunity to get better at core subjects.
Arts programs should receive more funding because they help with a multitude of developmental skills, because they provide unique learning tools for children, and because they improve performance in other areas of learning. Arts programs develop motor skills, visual-spatial skills as well as critical thinking and decision making skills. Arts encourage new ways of learning, like using emotion and observation to think differently. Art programs spark deeper contemplation and better brain connectivity which can be applied to all subjects to enhance performance. To fix this unfairness in schools, schools should be encouraged to pay attention to the needs of their art programs, as well as to being fair with their budget. Also, schools should be encouraged to understand the benefits that arts provide. If schools are interested in producing creative and critically thinking students, funding arts programs is the way to achieve that goal.
Bergado, Gabe. “Science Shows Art Can Do Incredible Things for Your Mind and Body.” Mic.
Mic Network Inc., 26 Oct. 2015. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. https://mic.com/articles/106504/science-shows-that-art-is-having-fantastic-effects-on-our-brains-and-bodies#.ohN3cs8KK
Heymont, George. “More Funding for School Arts Programs, Less for Sports.” The Huffington
Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 11 Oct. 2010. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-heymont/more-funding-for-school-a_b_757558.html
Hwang Lynch, Grace. “The Importance of Art in Child Development.” PBS. Public Broadcasting
Service, 25 May 2012. Web. 04 Mar. 2017. http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-importance-of-art-in-child-development/
Sylwester, Robert. “Art for the Brain’s Sake.” ASCD. N.p., Nov. 1998. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.