Letter: Art allows America to excel by Kathleen Roche
Growing up in Rhinelander, I was fortunate enough to attend schools where art classes were taught by licensed art teachers and there was a great variety of courses to choose from. These classes and teachers developed my love of art so much so that I, in turn, became an art teacher and returned to this community to teach. Should the upcoming referendum fail, all licensed art teachers would be eliminated and reductions made in the entire art program offered in the school district.For the students in our community, this would be a great disservice.
According to Americans for the Arts, 2002, studies consistently show that art is an essential component of a complete education and critical to the growth of the whole child. Art education enhances language acquisition, cognitive development, critical thinking ability and social skills, improves self-esteem and reduces school delinquency. It has a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child and has proven to help level the learning field across socio-economic boundaries.
Art education equips students to form mental images, which can be used to solve problems, an ability that chemists, engineers, and architects use to create models and that inventors use to think up new ideas. Art education requires students to use their eyes and hands to give form to ideas generated in the brain, a discipline that has been proven to boost brain power.
Other research shows that art education also impacts the bottom line in business. Today’s global marketplace is no longer based solely on labor and knowledge. Innovation and creativity are key to America’s future as an economic leader. The economic and social landscapes are ever-changing and we are living in a visual age. According to the National Art Education Association, 1.25 million Americans currently work in the visual arts. Jobs for artists and designers are predicted to increase by 43 percent by 2016.
A “little” art education would simply not be adequate for the children in our community. By supporting art education in our schools, we would be nurturing future generations of creative, well-rounded citizens who can produce great ideas for the world and shape vibrant communities. I want the children of Rhinelander to have the same opportunities I grew up with.
Please vote “yes” on Feb. 19.
Kathleen Roche, Rhinelander