The visual and performing arts are a universal language which taps into the collective human consciousness. Capable of uniting people of diverse backgrounds and abilities, art is uniquely valuable as an educational medium because it encourages self-awareness, self-examination and emotional vigilance. Strengthening communication with the inner self during the creative process and the ability to share the experience with others, allows one to get in touch with the emotional sphere and to have an all-encompassing and profound learning experience capable of reaching the unconscious as well as the intellectual levels. This social, emotional, and intellectual growth of students is contingent upon progressive but effective K-12 education. Utilizing an instructional approach with strategically designed curriculum integrating the fine arts and technology, promotes leadership and character development, while cultivating a culture of creativity and innovation.
Globalization in communication provides the opportunity for concepts, principles and values to be disseminated quickly and broadly. Students can effectively grow, while developing a genuine desire to do good for mankind, promote social justice, human rights, and solidarity. Mindfulness of these values can create a ripple effect and bring them to life in multiple contexts. Arts integration is vital for helping students incorporate these ideals into their thought processes while retaining knowledge and exercising it in present and future endeavors.
Integration of the arts in effective K-12 curriculum highly encourages self-awareness, assertiveness, and communication which are key ingredients for producing social change. Governments should be prepared and willing to rethink, review and reorient their education policies, programs and methodologies. This is a daunting challenge, but also a massive opportunity for investment in sustainable growth, provided that students are given the chance to enter the world prepared with talents and skills needed to propel progress genuinely for the greater good, not simply to help students pass tests, help learners graduate, or become better workers.
Click for more information on The STEAM Academy, United Artists Foundation, and the Arts Education Network. Those seeking a more comprehensive understanding which includes recent research, please see: Neuroscience of Art and Human Empathy: Aligning Behavioral and Brain Imaging Evidence, and Project Zero.