There is No Education Without the Arts

SMW, June 29, 2014 2:39 AM


"The best education facilitates artistic
voice and creative habits of mind."


by C.J. Westerberg

We might have heard about voice as it relates to the arts but we don't as often hear that they are related to habits of mind.
This quote is a stunner: 

"We're not talking about making sure that everybody
has private music lessons," Woetzel said. "
We're talking about a way of educating that
involves artistic sensibilities -
 artistic habits of mind.
The ability to re-assess and to imagine.
To be in a science class and not think it's about memorization entirely,"
but to imagine its applications."

- Art is Vital, The Atlantic, Dispatches from the Aspen Ideas Festival

And more:
"I want to go into science class and awaken that spark
that makes learning possible," Woetzel said.

Alfre Woodard, the Emmy-winning actress and producer
who may be best known for her work in True Blood, said, "When you go to legislators and make a case for how crucial an arts education is -
that education is not only incomplete without it,
but that arts actually facilitate learning in science and math."

Woodard, like Woetzel, sat on the President"s Committee for Arts and the Humanities, which authored the document "Reinvesting in Arts Education," calling to unify and focus efforts to expand arts education offerings to underserved students and communities.

"People still don't get it," Woodard said. "They think it's play time.
They think it's touchy feel-y. But it's undeniable what music, painting, [and] movement do to the brain. It becomes more receptive to scientific ideas."

Woodard says pushback to investment in the arts is at times puritanical.
 "It can't be that good, because it makes us feel free and happy."

But art facilitates the learning of everything else.

"You cannot be an innovator in any category,"Woodard said, "unless that creative instinct is exercised."

Related in The Daily Riff:

How the Arts Prepare for Life's Work in Any Discipline by C.J. Westerberg

Is Math Art?  featuring A Mathematician's Lament by C.J. Westerberg

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