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OPINION: Are art classes  a thing of the past?

By Claire Gearhart

There are four major different ways to learn; art classes fill up three of those. Taking out art classes has been a raging debate between school boards across the country. Taking these classes out is becoming more and more popular yearly and is quickly spreading. Many adults just don’t see the benefit anymore; they either aren’t hearing the voices of the children or they just don’t care. Online colleges report that by the end of the year 25 percent of public high schools will have no arts classes at all, regardless of the opinions of the kids actually taking them. The facts supporting these classes is tremendous.

“The classes are a good way to express myself and learn the limits I have as an artist, how far my creativity can extend, and the kind of person I am on the inside,” said Gia Marino.  

Art classes not only are a way to express yourself, as Marino stated, but they develop many skills necessary in the growth of children. Decision making is one of these skills. Americans for the Arts reported that art education builds problem solving and critical-thinking.

“They are exploring and thinking and experimenting and trying new ideas,” MaryAnn Kohl told PBS.

Not only that, but it has many other benefits including motor skills, language and development, visual learning, inventiveness, and cultural awareness. One of the biggest effects has been improved academic performance. Americans for the Arts studies have shown that students who attend some sort of art class (artistic or musical) are four times more likely to receive an academic achievement reward. This shows that by taking these classes students can benefit greatly.

“Art has made my highschool experience better,” Marino said. “I’ve met upperclassmen, get to try new and fun things, and have gotten many new perspectives on the way to go about things.”

In 2005, the Rand Corporation did a report on art classes and argued that these kinds of classes actually help them connect with a larger world and improve community cohesion. They then went on to argue that kids that come from lower income families aren’t as exposed to the arts and that taking these classes help them to explore a world that is meant for everyone. They aren’t as bound by the socioeconomic ties they would have been.

Any type of art classes are majorly beneficial to any kind of student, whether they have a knack of art or not. Why should the adults get to decide for us what kind of things we want to help shape our future? Why should we take away the students’ opportunity for growth and exploration of who they truly are? Art classes should remain a class that is allowed to be taken. We don’t want the education board to stump the students right to express themselves.

“Art inspires me to be more positive,” Marino said, “to be the best me I can be.”

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