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Arts are central to education

Cheyanne Ohlhauser, guest columnist

We often view those “core” classes as ones that are vital to the success of the student in the future. I say that art should be a core class.

“Art does not solve problems, but makes us aware of their existence,” sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz has said. “Arts education, on the other hand, does solve problems.” Edutopia editor Fran Smith argues: “Years of research show that it’s closely linked to almost everything that we as a nation say we want for our children and demand from our schools.”

Art changes your perspective, your mind and your world. Just looking at someone else’s art can hint at how they see the world. Art can help you understand people better, look for new angles when you’re stuck, develop your critical thinking abilities, and alter your view on the world.

So, why isn’t art a required class in most schools? Some believe, as Nadia Abramson, of the University School of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderale, Fla., argued in a 2009 essay: “School is supposed to be an academic environment. But the arts have somehow infested the hallways and taken thousands of students hostage with pretty colors and soothing sounds. Students go to school to learn the derivative of 48 x 2 and the Kreb’s Cycle, not to paint abstract nothingness or to sing bad choral music.” I agree that school is supposed to be an academic environment, but you can still learn from the arts. For people who have a lot on their plate, especially academics, it can be a way to escape. And maybe that “abstract nothingness” to you is really a great picture that represents something amazing to the person that painted it. Art helps students who live in a visual age to form mental images which can be used to solve problems.

Art is creating problem solvers which can go on to become geniuses. So, why isn’t art a required class?

• Cheyanne Ohlhauser is 14 years old.

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