Times are tough. School board budgets are getting squeezed tighter and tighter and arts programs are getting cut.
When faced with potential cuts, the response is often rational: Quoting studies & statistics, for example. But a recent post by Steven Tennen on the ARTSblog made me think that there’s a better approach. Maybe a connection on an emotional level would have more impact:
People remember their arts experiences because they made them feel good and they gave them a sense of accomplishment. Long after you forget algorithms or the meaning of Silas Marner you still remember the song about Benjamin Franklin you sang in the class play.
I don’t know why we don’t spend more time reminding people of this. I don’t know why, when someone rails about the waste of resources going into arts education, we don’t ask them if they played an instrument in school or participated in the school play? Why don’t we ask if they remember that experience, and if they think that it would be valuable for today’s students to also have those experiences … and those memories?
I sang in the school choir for as long as I can remember. I still remember most of the music and lyrics for the songs we sang at a Christmas assembly. My theatrical debut was playing the pivotal role of Mr. Beaver in a school production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – in French, no less! I’m convinced that I’d only need about a half-day of rehearsal to get up and running in the show despite the fact that my French is rouillé. I don’t remember much about my costume, but I do remember that I had fur paws!
Lindsay vividly waxes poetic about her stirring performance as the Blue Fairy in a fifth-grade production of Pinnochio.
Now that I think of it, it’s these experiences and memories that drive me in my support of arts education. Everybody deserves this opportunity.
So what do you remember?