Hello <<First Name>>,
I’m delighted to share this August 2016 edition of Arts Awareness E-Newsletter with you. I sincerely hope you find it helpful as you play an active role in all your creative efforts. Please feel free to share it with others who might be interested, and if you know someone who may want to receive this newsletter monthly, please let them know how to sign up through www.artsawareness.com.
There Is No Education without the Arts
As another school year begins, I think it’s important for everyone to look more deeply into the value of learning through the arts. Knowledge gained from making and performing art comes not only from the way the elements in the art form work together to express something meaningful, but from what I like to call artistic process thinking. Our minds tend to expand by seeing in one thing something else that’s even more meaningful; and the arts provide the opportunity for this sort of learning. It matters because our students—in fact all of us—are facing an increasingly challenging world that changes every day. It’s a world that’s asking us to think in new ways. Making or performing art is so much more than what someone does every day. Artistic process thinking can be a way of life.
There is a natural, beautiful, and deep body of knowledge in the artistic process we haven’t even begun to tap.
~ from Arts Awareness: A Fieldbook for Awakening Creative Consciousness in Everyday Life by Patricia Hoy
If you look closely at the roots and meanings of the words education and expression, they both mean to lead out or bring forth from within. And the word artistic means that we learn to do that in an imaginative and skillful way. This is the learning process students engage in every day in arts and music classes.
Years of experience have convinced me that educating and expressing artistically are so closely related, there simply is no education without the arts.
Even though professional artists have to have a lot of training and life experience in order to then bring it out in their art form, there are so many things everyone can learn from the arts—whether they choose it as a career or not—about understanding and contributing to the world.
The Every Student Succeeds Act that was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, represents good news for the arts. It replaces No Child Left Behind and gives states more flexibility to determine what constitutes a successful school. The arts and music are included throughout this new law, but it will be up to state and local leadership to make specific decisions regarding its implementation. It’s important that parents, administrators, and teachers strive to understand the depth of learning that can be gained from these disciplines that are no longer considered “extras,” but a valid and important part of an education in the United States.
With this bill, we reaffirm that fundamentally American ideal—that every child, regardless of race, income, background, the zip code where they live, deserves the chance to make of their lives what they will.
~ President Barack Obama
In order to reap the full benefits of an arts education, it’s important that students have a consistent opportunity to engage in arts learning year after year. Just as in other disciplines, it requires so much more than a class now and then. And the value of artistic process thinking in the arts goes well beyond what it can do for learning in other subjects. The arts provide opportunities to learn to think in ways that can transform life experience and that grow awareness and creative consciousness. This sort of thinking leads to the creativity, enterprise, and entrepreneurship so critical for students to succeed in the 21st century.
To draw out of students what’s hidden inside them, we have to put more of ourselves into their engagement with the artistic process. It’s not just about “practice” and much more than just technical skill; its knowledge shaped by connected cognitive and aesthetic learning experiences. The unity and community in the African proverb—it takes a village—is truly relevant in this effort of shaping arts education opportunities that can help students sharpen their outward vision and inward knowing, learning to thrive as imaginative creators. We live in a remarkable time in history, because it calls for a deeper way of knowing and thinking and feeling. And the arts can make a huge impact.
As First Lady Michelle Obama sums up, both she and the President believe ‘strongly that arts education is essential for building innovative thinkers who will be our nation’s leaders for tomorrow.’
~ Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education