In addition to making art Nancy Isbell teaches art. The following is her philosophy of art, be it drama, music, dance or the visual arts, in the school system...
" I believe arts education is critical for young people. Already there is a pall over the school environment without a regular art curriculum especially at the elementary level. The schools, being heavy on left brain academics, bereft of joy, a sense of wonder, beauty, and most importantly creativity, are boring the student population and teacher population alike.
The emphasis is on passing academic tests in math, reading and science. There is no time or money for the arts, in fact they are considered unimportant. What is the goal of our education system? I always thought it was to educate human beings to be fully functioning, well rounded adult members of our society. By the time a person graduates from high school they have some idea of a direction to further pursue in life.
In my opinion as a former student, as a parent, and as an educator, we are narrowing the process down, NOT encouraging creativity, and actually dumbing down our members of society without access to learning about the arts. The arts (creativity) should be the hub of the wheel with the spokes of science, math, reading and other topics that can be measured. Without the inquiring, experimental mind required of an artist, we will have random spokes difficult to use. An entire segment of industry will be short of skilled designers, inventors, visionaries, people able to visualize, draw, plan, and think creatively.
Whether it be making art, viewing, or communicating through the visual arts, the part of the mind used in the arts is being under utilized in our schools without art in the classroom. Art is not just fluff, it is an important academic subject and should be considered essential.
The following is an excerpt from the National Arts Education Campaign...
Did You Know...
* The arts teach kids to be more tolerant and open.
* The arts allow kids to express themselves creatively.
* The arts promote individuality, bolster self-confidence, and improve overall academic performance.
* The arts can help troubled youth, providing an alternative to delinquent behavior and truancy while providing an improved attitude towards school.
Why Ask For More?
The arts are much more than just fun "extra" activities for kids. Participation in the arts opens up children's worlds and minds, and offers them the skills they need for a bright future. And chances are, your kids are not getting enough art, in or out of school.
* Has your 4th grader ever taken a DANCE class or learned the basics of choreography?
* Does your 8th grader know how to play an INSTRUMENT or analyze a piece of music?
* Has your 10th grader ever acted in a PLAY or studied the motivation of a dramatic character?
* When was the last time your 12th grader went to a museum or talked about the origins of symbols in the SCULPTURE of various cultures?
A Little Art is Not Enough!
There's not enough art in our schools or in our children's lives. But ask almost any parent, and they'll say that arts education is very important to their child's well being. Which makes it so surprising that the arts have been allowed to virtually disappear from our children's learning experiences.
An impressive 89% of Americans believe that arts education is important enough to be taught in schools, but the sad truth is, your kids spend more time at their lockers than in arts classes. Read the facts on how arts education helps kids do better.
There Are Standards.
Most states have already established arts education standards as important achievements for students in every grade. Start asking questions and learn where your local school district stands.
You Can Make It Happen!
It is the responsibility of all of us to make sure arts education flourishes throughout the country. And you have more power than you know to create opportunities for kids to experience the arts. Here are some great success stories to offer inspiration!
You're Not Alone.
All Together Now—Art. Ask for More.