One of our supporters has shared her story for our readers – enjoy and thanks Melissa!
“I have always been active in the arts. For me, the arts opened worlds of possibility when I was a child and continues to do so in my adult life. My fiancé and I were best friends in preschool and she often would come to my parent’s house for play dates in the summer time. She sometimes recalls trying to tear me away from my chalk drawings and my stubborn refusal to leave until I had finished my work, insisting that it was important.
Art gave me my place in the world, from the very beginning I identified as an artist. Later in life, when I attended college, I realized that there are many different definitions for the word “artist.” To me, an artist is a creator. Someone who uses imagination and skill set to create something, anything that creates a feeling or thought in someone else.
Art is vital for the development of empathy, and problem solving skills in children. For children with disabilities, it is a way for them to explore the world around them and develop fine motor skills. For children and adults with histories of trauma or sexual abuse, art can be therapy. Art is also an excellent interdisciplinary tool for teaching. Studies show that when art is used in conjunction with science, mathematics, and reading, students retain more of the information over time.
In art classrooms, children and teens feel safe to ask the questions they normally wouldn’t in other classes. They feel safe in expressing and exploring themselves in a deeply personal way that they do not get to do in other areas of learning. Self-discovery in adolescence, in my opinion, is a vital part of growing up. In a world where arts classes are being cut and deemed unnecessary, children and teens are learning by memorization and are not learning to be creators, innovators, and problem solvers.
It is very disappointing and very frightening to me to see the arts being cut from American schools. I urge and encourage everyone who has ever been touched by any of the arts, whether it be music, performance, or visual art, to keep advocating for the cause and to fight to keep the arts in our children’s’ education. The arts foster empathy and compassion. We all know our world needs more of that and our children are the future of our world.”
Painter, Educator, Humanitarian
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your insights and experiences about the power of the arts to transform lives and the necessity of increasing the presence of the arts in our educational system.
Have a story you want to share? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and perhaps your story will be featured next!