When one thinks of the fine arts, individuals such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and William Shakespeare come to mind as pioneers of such. The skill and innovation these artists sculpted within their respective time periods has paved the way to the arts we know of today. But in recent years, it’s become apparent that the youth – the very people we are raising to be “the next generation” are obtaining less and less knowledge of these innovators.
What’s worse is that not only are they not learning about such people, but they are unable to receive proper instruction on what the fine arts are, and therefore simply don’t understand the arts.
A large consequence resulting from lack of proper art instruction in youth is the values they aren’t learning. PBS tackled the topic, speaking on a wide variety of values the arts give kids. One point of theirs really stuck out, and it dealt with the musical arts. On Feb. 9, PBS wrote that “This relationship between music and language development is also socially advantageous to young children.”
To fully drive their argument home, PBS interviewed clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine Dr. Kyle Pruett, who stated, “The development of language over time tends to enhance parts of the brain that help process music.”
If musical education, along with fine writing education and theatrical education and so on, is so important, why aren’t kids getting taught as well as they used to? The recent recession is a factor, and as a result, many places aren’t able to fund the arts. According to the Washington Post on Dec. 12, 2012, “These programs tend to be the first casualties of budget cuts in hard-pressed school districts already struggling to meet other demands of the academic curriculum, and they are rarely restored.”
When it comes to importance, math and science as well as sports rank at a higher level. Yet teaching young people how to express themselves creatively serves an equally supportive purpose. This is not to diminish the overarching worth of subjects such as math and science as well as physical activity, but to shine a light on how powerful the arts can be. Without them, we lose the innovative talent this country has worked so hard to obtain.
A Jan. 5, 2012, article on The Guardian spoke of one of the biggest advocates of the arts, the Arts Council, and their stance on the idea of budget cuts, to which they said, “When it was founded in 1946, the Arts Council could justify its activities in its own terms: it was there to widen access to the arts throughout the country.”
Instead of simply taking bigger and bigger cuts from art programs, we must find alternatives to obtaining funding. Ultimately, by reducing art funding, we’re damaging our kids as much as cutting funding to physical outlets or even math and science. This creative channel is of significant importance, for it opens their minds to do and be amazing things in their future.
Can we save the arts, or will they slowly wither away? The ones we are hurting are the ones who will one day run this country, and so change is necessary – not just for them, but for us too.
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