The Importance of Arts in Education

by Hannah Mildenberger

During my freshman year, I had choir class at the end of one day and guitar class at the end of the other day. Those were the only two classes that I actually looked forward to that year. Everything else was just something I was not interested in.

Then during my sophomore year, I had those two classes again and foundations of art, which were the only classes that I really looked forward to again like the previous year.

Those classes were the best in my own personal opinion. It was a pretty decent break away from logical classes such as any math or science class. I could express my creativity and learn something that doesn’t necessarily have patterns that one had to memorize or a rule that had to be followed. People can just sit down and create art.

I feel that it is unfair that fine art classes such as band, choir or foundations of art may get cut. There is a rumor going around that it may get cut next year. It’s not right that there is even talk about the possibility.

Some people are not interested in farming, businesses, science or mechanics. Not everybody is interested in how to take care of farm animals, how to create the best business they can, how chemical formulas are formed or how to build something. Some people are not naturally skilled at science, farming, businesses or mechanics.

Some people love and enjoy creating and playing music whether it be in a choir, band or simply by playing the guitar. Some people are great at singing and playing instruments and should pursue their dream jobs and ambitions.

One of the many pieces of artwork created in Chelsea Scott's ceramics class.
One of the many pieces of artwork created in Chelsea Scott’s ceramics class.

American history teacher Nelson Schroeder said, “No classes have been targeted that I have heard of. I have no idea why there are rumors about art class being cut. The only reason why there was classes cut before was because that there were no teachers to fill them.”

Art teacher Chelsea Scott said, “When I first started working here there was only seven art classes, but now it increased to 12. The demand for art classes has increased. Most of my classes are full. My smallest class is photography which has 14 students. Art doesn’t get funded, so everything comes out of the students’ pockets or their parents’ so I require $40 to take the class.”

When asked how these people felt about the possibility that art classes such as foundations of art and band for example might get cut were all negative.

Junior Mary Ritter said, “I am not happy about it at all. No, it is not for the best. There are some of us that at the end of the day rely on art to calm our nerves after a stressful day. I look forward to band at the end of the day. I can just go play instruments which is something I enjoy.”

Senior Gabriel Deleon said, “People would lose their jobs and a lot of students connect with each other through the arts classes.”

Senior Victor Ferri said, “I think it’s unnecessary.”

Kimberlee Johnson beams with pride over her ceramic vase.
Kimberlee Johnson beams with pride over her ceramic vase.

None of the art students are going to be happy about it if it does happen and they hope that it doesn’t and it just remains a rumor.

When asked if they thought that it was a good idea to cut some art classes, they all gave good points.

Counselor Lyn Frank said, “Absolutely not. I think that if you were to look at the careers that someone can potentially go into a career as an adult in art is huge like Interior Design and Graphic Design. I think we need to look at it as a solution-based problem.”

Scott said, “Though there is a slim chance of being cut, it isn’t for the best. Creativity is the number one thing that employers look for, so the work force will be more competitive.”

Schroder said, “No, I don’t think it is ever a good idea to cut classes, but at some point something has to give. I think the goal would to be to minimize that impact as much as possible.”

Jobs are necessary to live in society; we can’t just grow our own food and make our own clothes anymore. People cannot just go outside and get the materials they need from nature anymore. They have to go to a store and pay for the product they need which costs money, because stores don’t very often accept trades or bargains.

When asked if she was planning on pursuing a career in art, Ritter said, “Yes. I plan on traveling the country with my band.”

Many people do enjoy the arts enough that they want it to be more than just a hobby; they want to make it into a job. They want to make it into something that they get paid to do and have people enjoy their creations.

Ferri said, “I think they should make the budgets equal. Have more of an equilibrium between the budgets.”

Frank said, “I always look at things as an employer, so I would look at what is most vital for us as educators. I would look and see what is the comparison of people that leave and the amount of money that we spend on their activities such as sports and the number of people that would go into that line of work and some of those other programs such as music and art. I would also look at the impact due to some of those types of curriculum. When I was in school, I learned about the connection between music and mathematics and how it helps our brains to develop those mathematical skills based on the music that we do. I would look at the comparisons on what actually is most impactful to students as well as the employers. I think that maybe they should consider a four-day school week. I realize that there would be issues, but I think that those can be addressed. I would also look at what other schools did and see what they made cuts and how it impacted students and the school community.”

Schroder said, “What they can do or should do isn’t going to be an immediate fix. It’s going to be a long-term recovery to fix the financial issues, because it took a long time to get here. It is not going to turn around overnight. They should find a way to make the legislature look at the financial problems. There are no quick-fixes. This is one of those situations where everybody is gonna have an opinion and very few people are gonna be happy with the outcome. Things that were talked about in the past was adjusting the way the school year operates and adjusting the school day. One of the things that the have done in the past was that if a teacher was to retire, they wouldn’t refill that position. They would just make class sizes a littler larger. Maybe even adjust how much technology they buy and replace.”

Scott said, “Academics should be the last thing to go.”

Students are able to freely express themselves in art classes, such as Scott's ceramics courses.
Students are able to freely express themselves in art classes, such as Scott’s ceramics courses.

There are multiple ways to do the same things. Some may not be as great of a way as other, but some may have the same damage or helpfulness despite it being a different solution. What needs to be looked at is all the possible ways they could do this and know what each will affect what and in what way will it affect it. They need to look at which will cause the least amount of damage and see how all the other schools and districts are handling their financial issues.

Deleon said, “I have no idea what classes I would take if they do.”

Ferri said, “ I am sacrificing my waivers, because I want to take an art class.”

Some people will end up taking classes that they are not even the least bit interested in and in cause, pausing their knowledge on what they are interested in and must wait until college to learn more. This is supposed to be an educational area to learn and to grow.

Frank said, “I think they will be very disappointed and they will feel devalued. I hope that they will give possible alternatives that could be looked at.”

Schroder said, “I don’t think they will be happy. I don’t think anybody will be happy. I wouldn’t be happy, either. For a lot of kids, the art program is the one thing that draws them into the building. For some kids, that is the one part of the day that they actually get to do something that’s enjoyable to them. I wouldn’t think they would be happy and I don’t expect them to be.”

Scott said, “They might not have a reason to come to school anymore. If they do get rid of the art program, then I would move.”

Some students just don’t enjoy sports and other classes and art classes are something to enjoy and be happy about. Art is important as it affects each of our lives individually. The music we enjoy, the physical artwork like sculptures and drawings, and even the designs of our clothing and electronics, and entertainment like books, tv shows, and movies, all affect our lives in one way or another by our likes and dislikes, as well as our experiences. If art classes are taken away, even before some people get to experience them and see if they enjoy them and what they do, then there is just that many less people that will be working in the art careers and will influence the world maybe even less than if they did experience and enjoy the art classes.