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The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Schools need to promote benefits of art classes more

Photo by Gabbi Chau
The A and B wings are the heart of the schools’ arts programs. Schools need to promote these art classes more so students can learn and benefit from them.

With schools in the metro area deliberating budget cuts, with the arts typically being the first to be cut, schools need to encourage students to take visual art classes and performance art classes to promote the benefits of art classes more.

Despite the vast amount of unique art electives the school offers, most students see entry-level art classes as a means to fulfill the required art credit, not for the class’s benefits.

“I’ve never seen the school try and direct students a certain way to arts or performing,” Junior Emilyn Mehl, a longtime art student said.

“Arts education is still perceived as an add-on, rather than an essential field creating essential 21st-century skills that are defined as the four C’s of collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking … and those skills are being developed in arts education,” Dr. Trkulja said in an article for the New York Times (NYT). Dr. Trkulja is a Senior Advisor for Academic and Cultural Affairs at Qatar Museums, where she helps create education strategies and does research.

“It also teaches about creative problem solving and allows for students to be innovative as they make personally authentic physical pieces. It is a personal process that empowers the maker.  There are so many decisions you must make as you think about intent and how the work will be interpreted. As challenging as it can be, it is fun,” Carey Nisi said. Nisi teaches Clay and Sculpture, AP Art and photography classes.

Art is one of the main parts of society. It is how people share their culture, traditions, opinions and beliefs, conveyed in different types of media that others can relate to.  Art has always been a method of change and advocacy within society.

“The arts are one of the fundamental ways that we try to make sense of the world…people use the arts to offer a critical perspective of their exploration of the human condition, and that’s what the root of education is in some ways,” Brian Kisida said in an article from the NYT, co-director of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“We make art to tell our stories, to share our concerns, experiences and dreams. We learn from others through their art as we gain perspective from those with a different reality. We are motivated, inspired and challenged by art. Art brings us beauty and comfort and joy. It enriches our daily lives. Not to mention art/design is integrated into everything created by humans” said Nisi.

Another reason why the programs need to be recommended is for the educational benefit, alongside social gains.

Ninety one percent of Americans believe that arts are needed for a well-rounded education.”

— Americans for the Arts

“Ninety-one percent of Americans believe that arts are needed for a well-rounded education” according to Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “build recognition and support for the extraordinary and dynamic value of the arts and to lead, serve, and advance the diverse networks of organizations and individuals who cultivate the arts in America.”

Students who take 4 years of arts and music classes score an average of over 150 points higher on the SAT than students who take only one-half year or less also according to the nonprofit organization.

Not only do students gain rewards from visual art classes, but also the performing art classes such as band, orchestra and choir.

Junior Alex Kruse, a member of the highest-level band the Stillwater Wind Symphony, described the benefit of being in an ensemble as “helping improve cooperation with other students.”

However, by promoting classes to more students, the district administration would have to hire more art teachers to accommodate for growing class numbers, pay the current staff more, and/or limit the number of students who can register for those classes, which defeats the whole purpose of the promotions.  Any of those options would require a lot more funding for the arts than previously provided.

Students will always benefit from engaging with art, schools just need to let them do so.

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About the Contributor
Gabbi Chau
Gabbi Chau, Political Cartoon Editor
My name is Gabbi Chau, I am a junior, and the cartoon editor for the Pony Express! I am a part of the Stillwater High School Swim and Dive team, the Stillwater High School Synchronized Swim team, I am in Belle Chanter Choir and the Stillwater Choir, and more. I love playing video games with my friends or just hanging out together I am most looking forward to creating original artworks that will be displayed in the newspaper!  

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    Carole A DennisonApr 19, 2024 at 9:42 am

    As a long retired Art teacher I found it difficult to build a career as a teacher of Art. After my job was eliminated due to budget cuts 3 times in 10 years I had no choice, I left and went in to printing and advertising.