Today we had the opportunity to meet a young recent M S U grad at the new Broad Art Museum. She will be starting her teaching career teaching science and art. What a great subject marriage. Her enthusiasm for both subjects will carry her far in her new beginning.
We discussed the lack of foresight by the cash strapped school districts and how the arts programs are the first programs to be downgraded or outright cut. Just to confirm our gut feeling I looked up- the value of art- and let Google gather the evidence. The Google survey shows that most citizens, too, have a gut feeling about the loss of arts in public education and backed up the evidence with some very substantial citations confirming this point. There are measurable outcomes which the art community has known and supported for years, ARTS BELONG IN THE SCHOOLS.
The writer Henry James proposed three questions to help define the artist work …1, what was the artist trying to achieve…2. Did they succeed ... 3. Was the effort worth doing? In researching the merits of the arts programs in schools we must look at the findings that are very conclusive and I invite you to also take the few minutes and Google this topic. It’s affirmimg to find support for your point of view and pass the word along to those hard working and often misunderstood public servants who manage our schools.
We can use James’ art analyses by replacing artists with art patrons to help us grade our efforts and stay on track in keeping the arts alive and enriching lives for the generations to come. If we get an A+ for our efforts, we can say we presented the best positive aspects of our culture to our children, our future replacements.
And to the first year teacher and her grand adventure in teaching, keep your enthusiasm and remember the arts community is counting on you for the next great link from past to future. Remember James’s third question? Was the effort worth doing? Think of the lives this new teacher will touch. Let’s all keep the cultural beacon shining.