Maybe we need a new way of looking at it?

By Richard Kessler
Naturally, those working in the arts field would speak in terms of "engaging experiences with works of art." Or "future demand for arts." 

These concepts don't have much traction in schools. The future demand issue, well, your average parent isn't all that keen about a child being viewed as a future (or present) commodity. And, well, I think most educators might wonder what an" engaging experience with a work of art really means."

More and more, I've been thinking about how we can tie arts education to the fundamental well being of our children and their development as human beings. What about arts education as a children's health issue, leapfrogging over the lexicon of the arts industry, that serves as a common language for the industry, but fails to resonate with those in the center of education?

December 1, 2008 4:13 AM | | Comments (1) |


Richard's correct from the standpoint that arts education is not in our schools to create demand for the arts. The fact that arts education can aid in this area is an important benefit. However, having ALL children (and we should be clear... arts education is for EVERY child), have access to, and benefit from, active participation in the arts is to help develop a creative, engaged and contributing citizen.

I have long said in my 20+ years of work in the field that we do not teach the arts to create great artists or arts consumers... we teach the arts to create great people.

Supporting arts education in our schools because there is a connection to increased participation is certainly a viable strategy (and one I support). But it should never be viewed as the reason for teaching the arts.

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