The Arts

The Necessity of the Arts

According to numerous research studies, as well as the support of Theorists and teachers, the necessity of arts programs in education are quite apparent. Hamblen (1997) stated that arts are a means by which students become involved, active learners rather than passive, bored students. Another identified benefit of arts was that students are enabled to construct their own meaning because they are actively involved in learning (Catterall 1998). According to Burton, Horowitz, and Abeles (2000), arts promote the following outcomes in students:

  • Creative thinking;
  • Fluency in thought;
  • Originality;
  • focused perception;
  • Imagination;
  • Risk taking;
  • Task persistence; and
  • Ownership in learning.

Hamblen (1997) added that in addition to creative behaviors, arts provide critical thinking and selfawareness. Research by the National Endowment for the Arts (1991, 25) identified five roles that arts play in academics:

  • Arts can foster the development of students who are actively engaged in learning.
  • Arts contribute to the development of a creative, committed, and exciting school culture of teachers, students, and parents.
  • Arts can help generate a dynamic, coordinated, and cohesive curriculum.
  • Arts can build bridges to the larger community, to the broader culture, and to other institutions.
  • Arts can humanize the learning environment.

* Hamblen, K. A. 1997. Theories and research that support art instruction for instrumental outcomes. Arts Education Policy Review 98(3): 27–33.

* Catterall, J. S. 1998. Does experience in the arts boost academic achievement? A response to Eisner. Art Education 51(4):6-11.

* Burton, J. M., R. Horowitz, and H. Abeles. 2000. Learning in and through the arts: The question of transfer.Studies in Art Education 41(3): 228–57.

* National Endowment for the Arts. 1991. Understanding how the arts contribute to excellent education. Washington, DC: NEA