The Arts are not an Enrichment

The Arts are not an enrichment. The Arts are a core value that informs all other forms of learning. The arts engage individuals. They are culture. Creativity has been cleansed from most of education in California.

The crisis in creativity started in 1978 with the passage of Prop 13. The arts almost immediately began disappearing from schools across the State. And, with each subsequent economic and budgetary crisis more and more of the arts have been carved away.

The removal of the arts has been going on for so long that most of the teachers who have been trained here have never had an adequate arts education. The only ones who retain an interest in communicating the arts are the ones, who thankfully were raised in a home that had some form of cultural appreciation.

The importance of allowing creativity back into a child’s education cannot be overstated. Especially in todays rapidly changing global, technological, competitive work environment. The understanding that it’s creativity that has made us who we have been in the past seems to have been lost. Ingraining the arts and creative thinking is essential to our future and our kid’s future.

The primary way I work to bring arts back into classrooms is through teaching drawing. Drawing is almost a lost art, especially in public education. Drawing enhances and informs all other forms of learning. It causes us to think and see the world in new and different ways. Drawing stimulates neural development through spatial thinking, critical analysis, and hand eye coordination. It reengages kids back into learning in new ways, or very old ways, which we have walked away from, and its just plain fun for kids.

In addition to teaching art in elementary school, I also teach digital media arts for biotechnology at the Junior college level. This highly specialized interdisciplinary art form is as high tech as you can get and as old school as the renaissance. It is, in itself a perfect example of how to bring creativity and interdisciplinary thinking back into classrooms. Teach science by drawing it. It’s a purely STEAM like exercise.