The Importance of Arts Funding
Many schools are cutting back or completely eliminating their arts education programs. However, arts are imperative to the proper functioning of our society. If we take away the arts from children in school, then we will eventually be removing arts from the greater society. Children won’t learn about music or get to perform in plays. They will miss out on a crucial part of growing up and learning about being human. Private funding for the arts isn’t enough and we must stand up for federal arts funding. If we don’t make our voices heard then something extremely important will disappear. Below are just a few of the many reasons why arts funding is essential to our society.
Students with a rich arts education have higher grade point averages, score better on standardized tests in reading and math, and have lower dropout rates. When it comes to SAT scores, one of the biggest indicators of which college you can get into, students who participated in arts or music throughout all four years of high school average 100 points better on the SAT scores than students with just one-half year of arts or music.
Creates well rounded individuals
The arts spark creativity and innovation, which young kids thrive on. Giving them this creative outlet in school allows them to grow as individuals and eventually affect society. The Conference Board has found that that creativity is one of the top five skills that business leaders look for when hiring new employees.
Generates culture in our society
The arts are imperative to our humanity. They inspire us by fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. Arts help us to express our values and build bridges between different cultures; it brings us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, age, or gender. Without art we would lose so much about us as humans. Theater and museums and the art within them are gateways to our history. We learn so much about ourselves from looking at and watching the arts.
The arts stimulates the economy
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the arts and culture sector represents 3.25 percent of the nation’s GDP. That is a larger share of the economy than tourism and agriculture. “The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $135 billion in economic activity annually that supports 4.1 million jobs and generated $22.2 billion in government revenue” (americansforthearts.org). The arts are also beneficial for local merchants. Arts attendees pay for things such as meals, parking and babysitters. Arts drive tourism. It has been found that arts travelers stay longer wherever they travel to and spend more money to seek out authentic cultural experiences. Another way that the arts stimulate the economy is through exports. In 2011 the U.S. exports of arts goods, which includes things such as movies, paintings, and jewelry, grew to $72 billion, while imports were just $25 billion. That is a $47 billion arts trade surplus. A final way that the arts are important for our economy is because of businesses. The arts are a part of multiple industries from nonprofits to museums, symphonies and theatres, to the movie industry, architecture firms and design companies. Research shows that in 2014 3.1 million people were employed by a company that was involved in the creation or distribution of the arts. In all, the arts are a huge part of our economy, generating an enormous amount of revenue and creating millions of jobs. If we don’t continue fostering arts funding for education then we will eventually lose all of these jobs and an abundance of revenue.
“The arts are more than arts and crafts or recreation but the arts are a way that we transmit key ideas of human civilization. And if you think about eliminating arts from our world how little we would know about anything, particularly things that took place a long time ago.” Mark Slavkin TEDxTalk
To learn more about the arts funding issue check out this Ted Talk.