I love the Planet Money podcast. They have a wonderful way of taking the dry subject of economics and making it clear, understandable, and yes, exciting. Their reporting on the mortgage crisis (The Giant Pool of Money special they did for This American Life) is one such excellent example.
Here’s a more recent example that I found fascinating. Consider this graph. It’s a Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which measures the price of homes in the United States over time.
But radio is an aural medium and you can’t show a graph on the radio. So the Planet Money geniuses translated the graph into music:
Then they hired an opera singer to perform it:
It’s one thing to see the rise and fall of the graph, but it has much more resonance to hear it.
Any subject, any discipline, can be enhanced by the arts. There are zillions of ways to use the arts to explain zillions of concepts. This is just one such wonderful example.
Perhaps one approach to demarginalizing arts programs is to make them indispensable in the school. Use the theatre classes to create living museums to complement history classes. Create movement pieces to explain chemistry and physics. Act out scenes from books. The list goes on…