Why Arts Education is Critical for Every Human Being on the Planet, Part 1

digital painting Ice Tea by Terry Bailey
This is a digital painting. It is art. It was not made to teach light refraction through glass or chemistry. Although, I suppose one could do that. Ice Tea by Terry Bailey 2004

Hi, I’m back and summer 2013 is a memory. I seem to always regret that I did not eat enough tomatoes and nectarines when the end of September rolls around!

I left you hanging at the Folding Party at Institute of Figuring in Los Angeles, and I will  leave you hanging a bit more. I want to add some back-story here Рin 2 posts. After that I will give you the conclusion of the Folding Party Рas well as some thoughts to move forward with regarding the Institute and its goals. After that I will be sharing a story about another artist who is looking at the subject of those (in)famous psychological Rorschach tests with her art, Nicholette Kominos. And what about the Beginnings of Life story that I was exploring? Yes, we will talk more about that this fall, too!

Those of you who have followed my blog here for long know that the whole point of it is to explore the Arts and Sciences, and to show why both are of equal importance, and why they are dependent on each other, not exclusive of each other. You also know that I have a great concern about the denigration of art in our society and in our schools.

I’ve just completed an online course with Stanford University called Design Thinking. My classmates were primarily engineers, technologists and business people. The class was designed to help them start thinking more creatively. It was fascinating to talk to students from all over the world. And I found that it is not just the U.S. where the Arts have been eliminated; in fact, my classmate from India told me they have never had Arts in their schools.

It’s ironic that this Stanford class even exists. It exists because there is no art in the schools any longer. Or very little. And art serves important skill building purposes, as well as being of value in and of itself. Everyone needs the Arts – not just artists.

Because of this class, and the work I did in it (I am happy to report that I completed it “with distinction”), I am going to be adding another column to this blog shortly. That column will specifically address the need for Arts Education. That was my final project for the class – a prototype for arts education advocacy – which I highly recommend to any engineers, scientists, business people who are lacking in creative skills .

While researching my class projects, I happened upon a forum on artedsearch.org. There I joined a discussion about the value of Arts education, and ‘are the Arts valuable only if they help us learn some other subject, or do some other serious task?‘ (like how we hear lately that music education helps students with their math).

I received a few emailed questions to my post there about the need to research the value of Art for Arts sake. I will post my responses to those questions next.  For, although I am happy to see some school administrators begin to see the importance of getting the Arts back into the schools, NO they should not be there only to SERVE the Sciences!