Importance of Art
This past weekend, my family and I went to see My Son Pinocchio Jr., put on by the local Christian Youth Theater. Children ages 8 to 18 acted, danced, and sang on stage while their peers ran lights and set the scenes. I watched the children sing and act on stage and observed my family’s reactions to the play. My 2-year-old grandson laughed and repeated some of the actors’ catchphrases, while my mom smiled and clapped and my daughters were entranced by the fairies’ dance.
Originally, I wanted to write a review of the performance, but that quickly changed to a desire to emphasize the importance of the arts. Both individuals and communities benefit from having access to various forms of art. For this article, the arts include the act of creating as well as the product of visual and performing art. Paintings, sculptures, music, dance, plays, and writings are all forms of art.
There seems to be a dwindling of the arts in public schools as budgets are cut and more emphasis is being placed on science and math. Yet art can actually boost performance in other academic areas, allowing children to learn a concept in a different way. Art provides children with opportunities to learn and practice essential social skills. Art can also bridge gaps between cultures and socioeconomic standings, allowing for a more unified community.
Sadly, the reason art seems to be fading in our society is due to lack of participation of both performer and audiences. Household budgets have less disposable income which means families are required to make difficult choices of where to spend their money. The arts, invariably, takes a back seat to things like car payments, medical bills, and groceries. In addition, movies and television are becoming more popular as they are more accessible in today’s digital world. Yet there are simple and inexpensive ways to enjoy the arts.
Ways to Support the Arts
- Visit local art galleries. You can view some wonderful paintings and sculptures for free.
- Go to community or school theater performances. They are far less expensive than professional shows and they need your support to continue.
- Attend a school’s concert. Most schools, from elementary to high school, have winter and spring concerts that you can attend for free or a very minimal cost.
- Check your library for free or discounted tickets for museum admission. Some colleges also offer reduced cost tickets for students and staff.
You may be wondering what the big deal is, and what’s in it for you as an audience member. Most people want to get something when they give something. Thankfully, the answer to that question is easy.
Why Support the Arts?
- You will experience culture without traveling very far.
- You will experience emotional catharsis in the form of laughter and tears, and walk away feeling uplifted.
- You can feel good knowing that the cost of your ticket helped someone do something they love.
My main concern as a parent is trying to find ways to encourage my children to participate in the arts. I don’t want them to feel as if they have to be good at everything they try, but I do want them to experience being in a performance or having their work displayed.
Encourage Art in Your Home
- Do art projects with your children. This can be simple such as sculpting with clay or painting. Many cities also have stores where you can create paintings and ceramic pieces for a small fee.
- Take your children to the theater or concerts. Sometimes watching a performance can spark their own desires and creativity. It also helps them learn empathy.
- Allow your child to participate in the school band, play, or visual arts programs. It can help keep them from being bored and getting into trouble. Plus it will help them in their other classes.
- Libraries are more than just books! They have a variety of free programs that include art for all ages. Children can learn about Picasso and then create a painting in his style, and adults can make cute decorations for the holidays.
How Do Communities Benefit from the Arts?
Communities, in general, can also benefit from the art programs. Not only does working on a community mural or participating in theater bring those people closer together, but it also creates a sense of pride and tolerance. Areas with art programs generally have less crime and are considered to be beautiful neighborhoods. Citizens are also more likely to engage in other civic functions, including voting, city planning, and conservation.
Art is the foundation of any society. Art is one thing that remains of ancient cultures and provides clues to their beliefs and lifestyles. Creativity sparks ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving. Art displays and performances bring people together who might otherwise remain apart. The benefits far outweigh the cost of a ticket or donation or even the purchase of an art piece. I cannot imagine a world without the arts, can you?