Why Are the Arts Important?

  • They are languages that all people speak that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.
  • They are symbol systems as important as letters and numbers.
  • They integrate mind, body, and spirit.
  • They provide opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.
  • They offer the avenue to “flow states” and peak experiences.
  • They create a seamless connection between motivation, instruction, assessment, and practical application–leading to “deep understanding.”
  • They make it possible to experience processes from beginning to end.
  • They develop both independence and collaboration.
  • They provide immediate feedback and opportunities for reflection.
  • They make it possible to use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to bridge into understanding sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.
  • They merge the learning of process and content.
  • They improve academic achievement–enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  • They exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and “problem-finding.”
  • They are essential components of any alternative assessment program.
  • They provide the means for every student to learn.

Adapted from “Why the arts are important?” by Dee Dickenson