Monday, August 1, 2011

Society and the arts

Which came first? Society or the arts?

In one of my most compelling graduate courses, Baldachino asked us this simple question: did society create art or did the introduction of art foster society? It's a provocative question and one that creates a great dialogue in the classroom.

Therefore, with the cutting of art budgets, what does this say about our society? Lean times require tightening of the belts, this is for certain, however I am not so sure that the arts are the quick and easy cut that many folks believe they are. The arts, just like every other sector, employ lots of people. These cuts end up affecting plenty of jobs, like cuts in any field. Therefore, shouldn't we be looking at ways to save the arts funding and make trims across the board?

We need to recognize that math and ELA are not the only important subjects for students. There are some folks who really succeed in those, but we are doing a disservice to students who resonate with the other subjects. Making everyone funnel into these two "cores" is ignoring the multiple intelligence theory. We're creating very limited learners and the damage (and data), while not readily apparent, will continue to pour in as this student generation grows up.

So, spare some of the money for arts and make more general cuts in the schools and at large - because creativity is just (and maybe more so) important than every student knowing the quadratic formula. I'm just sayin'.

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