Why the arts?
Music, poetry, sculpture, drama, painting, sketching: all of these activities and what they produce make the gaps in our human experience more and more narrow. Through these, and other art forms, we are better equipped for positive self-expression and empathy. Both are key elements to successful interaction and relationship building not to mention personal identity. Using words,music or visual art, we can tell our story in a way that others can relate to.
Beyond the immediate benefits, there are countless additional benefits to ones study of the arts. First, and foremost, the study of beauty. Aesthetics are not something taught as part of STEM education but a vital part of life. Aesthetics are a major defining attribute in cultural identity and understanding these attributes help us identify with other cultures.
Secondly, the mental benefits of the arts are gaining more and more exposure. From brain development in early childhood to maintaining mental health in an aging brain, studies are showing the importance of a musical life. (See some links below for more information.)
Participating in drama and musical ensembles are excellent ways to interact with other people fulfilling a social need in life. For those who are not strongly drawn to social interaction or are isolated for any reason, the arts offer opportunities for personal expression: ways to communicate to the world around them without having access to the world around them.
Studying the arts also gives us an insight into past times. We can see what life was like in paintings, what people were interested in musically and gain a better understanding for history. Knowing that history helps us relate to our ancestors and can give us a better appreciation for our current state. In difficult times, this relation can help us find solidarity in the past.
Access to the arts is not equal. We live in a very fortunate area of the state and country. There are people who can’t access these arts and this is why the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are vital entities to our country. These organizations do a lot of work to make the arts more accessible for all citizens and need to continue their work.
By supporting the arts, you are supporting your children, future generations and the longevity of our nation.
Music on Early Brain Development
Music on the Aging Brain