Picture a world with no arts in it. Nothing would decorate our walls. No music would fill the void. We wouldn’t be able to share stories or understand and empathize with anything beyond our immediate understanding. Life, as we know it, would not exist.
I wonder if the people who argue to de-fund the arts, really understand the intimate connection between the arts and what makes us human?
Of course, even without the arts we would have access to the beauty painted by the greatest artist of all, Mother Nature.
But without the arts, would we be able to express our understanding of that beauty? Would we even understand what it means? Or would our lack of understanding lead to an environment that looks only like this:
Of course, some people might find beauty in this image, and the creation of these machines themselves required the development of creative minds.
Minds become creative through exposure to the arts.
If arts didn’t play such a vital role in the development of humanity, then why has it existed in so many forms throughout the history of human kind?
Why have things like theatre, dance, and storytelling developed in culture after culture even when travel and communication across distances didn’t happen at the blink of an eye?
The arts play a vital role in encouraging us to think, to create, to question. The first image on this page comes from a student in my after school literacy through drama program, called “In Our Own Voices.” He is from Cambodia, and is perhaps the most recent immigrant in that group, with some of the biggest language challenges. Yet each week he grows in confidence as he speaks and reads. He expresses himself through written words and through drawing. The arts have helped him grow as a student, and celebrate his own life.
In an article entitled “10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2013″ Randy Cohen writes about all the practical reasons why arts are important, including improved grades and economic growth. He then asks for our reason #11.
Reason #11: Art is life. Life is art.
Do you think the arts are valuable? Why?