18 Reasons to Save Art Education in Elementary Schools

18 Reasons to Save Art Education in Elementary Schools
Every year in California and across the nation, we see more and more cuts in art education in elementary schools. This is a deep and pervasive problem. As Calvin College art professor, Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk, states in her list of highly insightful reasons to save art education in elementary schools, “The arts teach problem-solving, risk-taking, creative thinking, collaborative thinking, innovative thinking. Indeed all of the higher level thinking skills.”

If you’re a parent, artist, or art educator interested in cultivating creativity in kids, I’d like to encourage you to read Jo-Ann’s 18 Reasons to Save Art Education in Elementary Schools, which she generously allowed me to share with you today. Even if you’re not an artist, you will find Jo-Ann’s points will expand your knowledge and appreciation for the arts. Why is arts education in school so important? Here’s why…

  1. To participate in the arts is to be fully human.

  2. Art is a way of knowing and a form of communication.

  3. The arts teach problem-solving, risk-taking, creative thinking, collaborative thinking, innovative thinking. Indeed all of the higher level thinking skills.

  4. Art helps form multiple perspectives. It gives voice. It helps us identify and express issues that are global, common to all people groups.

  5. The arts emphasize value.

  6. To participant in the arts is to live in culture and in history.

  7. The arts help make sense of the world. The arts help us pay attention.

  8. Art nourishes our emotive side.

  9. Art develops our cognitive abilities.

  10. Art can and often is healing and supportive.

  11. Art teaches limitations, boundaries, yet encourages and promotes creativity and innovation.

  12. Art teaches about how parts belong to a whole; that all parts matter.

  13. The arts incorporate Big Ideas, and cutting-edge curriculum.

  14. Art teaches and reinforces community.

  15. Art celebrates thinking, creating, doing, and living.

  16. Art teaches us how to pay attention to detail as part of a broader spectrum and world.

  17. Art helps keep students in school, motivates, and increases math, science, social studies and language scores.

  18. Schools that incorporate the arts show longevity in teachers and enthusiasm on the part of the students.

To contact Jo-Ann, you can reach her at:

Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk, Chair
Department of Art and Art History
Calvin College, Grand Rapids Michigan
You can reach Jo-Ann at jpv2@calvin.edu or visit her website at
jo-annvanreeuwyk.com

Questions: Jo-Ann makes many important points about art education for youth. Which ones do you think are most significant? When you were young, how were you drawn into the arts? If not, how were you drawn into the arts as an adult?

I’d love your comments, ideas and feedback.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, snarky or off-topic.