These days, many Americans doubt that the benefits of art education are worth the time compared to math, science and technology. US companies continue to expand their online operations, requiring more and higher quality technical expertise. The future of the American labor force appears to be found in STEM subjects and common core classes.
Should art be abandoned altogether? A growing school of thought says no, and in fact insists that our future employees need art skills now more than ever.
Here are seven sought-after skills students can only garner from arts education:
- Problem solving/Inventiveness: Most subjects teach a singular method of reaching one correct answer. Art rather has a student choose from endless possibilities to create something new. Each decision must meld with the one before. When a snag is hit, the only way forward is creative invention.
- Accountability: Ownership over every step of art creation can offer a rare sense of accountability. Each decision is a personal expression that can develop self-awareness and identity in young students.
- Perseverance: Learning to paint or play the clarinet lack the clean endpoints that math problems have. Students must decide when the project is finished. This offers students the opportunity to work long and hard toward their own satisfying endpoint.
- Confidence: Theater and music involve performing for crowds, a crucial skill for building confidence under the pressure of public scrutiny. Most jobs will require a level public performance that STEM classes rarely offer.
- Collaboration: Band, choir, and theater require students to work together. Sharing responsibility and compromising to achieve common goal are skills adults need to be successful in both jobs and relationships.
- Improved Academic Performance: Studies find that the arts don’t just help develop a child’s creativity. Their benefits spill over into other forms of academic achievement. Success in art has been linked to better problem-solving and higher rates of graduation.
- Cultural Awareness: Art can teach students to decipher between reductive stereotypes and cultural interpretations of the world. Exposure to cultures through art can build a healthy appreciation for differences in our society.
Learn more about Chicago Public School’s (CPS) art education vision on their website.