John Ruskin, the leading English art critic, once said: “Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.” The arts are a special type of education that requires both the left brain and right brain to work simultaneously and in partnership.
This fact makes the Fine Arts valuable, but it is not the only reason. Fine Art programs help raise test scores, lower depression among young adults and gives participants an outlet for their creativity which in turn reduces stress. The financial problems drowning school districts have caused them to shut down the art programs to balance budget cuts, but these programs are vital to a student’s educational experience.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, depression affects nearly 19 million Americans over the age of eighteen. Offering the Arts to people who may be suffering from these illnesses, has been proven to reduce both depression and anxiety.
It is critical for students to be exposed to the Fine Arts and be given this outlet for self-expression. When participating in the Arts one can step away, from the structure and demand of the school day and release their creativity. Many students use Fine Art programs, such as music, theatre, and visual arts, as a stress relief from the rest of their day, thus improving their mental health.
The state of a student’s mental and emotional health can drastically reduce their academic achievements. In recent years schools have seen a drop in test scores and performance, alongside the rise of mental health issues. Attempting to reconcile the test scores, they have eliminated the “distractions” and focused on core subjects; Math, English, Science, and Social Studies. By labeling all Fine Arts classes as distractions administrators ignore the important benefits of these courses and fail to see the damage they are causing.
The Fine Arts are an integral part of a well-rounded education and preparing students to be valuable community members. In a time where budget cuts have forced the doors of Fine Arts programs closed, it is important to remember the benefits of such programs and the vital role they play in the participants’ education. With less exposure to the Arts, it is critical to continue searching for opportunities to participate in an art form, because the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.