Dear Future President:
Today, education has flourished to the point where it is nearly accessible by anybody and everybody. However, education is far from just the maths and sciences, but the arts are a significant part as well. Arts integration is something that should be emphasized further in federal funding.
Arts has made its way into the 21st century with a bigger bang than ever before. Today, there is an insurmountable amount of research backing up the value of arts in education. According to a study conducted by UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, “Student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in the community and lower dropout rates.” The study compared those who were highly involved in art and those who weren’t, finding that of the highly involved students, 79% earned A's and B's while only 64% of those not involved in the arts earned similar grades. Additionally, only 1.4% of those highly involved tended to drop out of school while those who weren’t had a rate of 4.8%. The arts isn’t just there to boost a student's grades, it’s also there to foster different ways of thinking and a greater sense of creativity that may prepare students for the job market in the future. Creative minds are highly desirable, as demonstrated in IBM’s Global Ceo Study, which claims that of 1,500 CEOs interviewed by IBM, creativity was ranked the most important quality they were looking for in applicants. Having an education in the arts, whether it be learning mastery of a skill or how to express oneself through another medium, can really cultivate individuality, vision, and intellect.
Despite the fact that learning art can benefit society immensely, it is only accessible by few. However, I believe that every student deserves a chance to be a part of arts programs and and benefit from its amenities. According to Lauren Rosenblatt, in her article, For Minority Artists, Race Plays a Factor in the Hunt for Funding, “Nationally, only 6 % of minority arts organizations receive comparable funding from individual donors to organizations serving mostly white patrons.” This means that a majority of minority run organizations aren’t receiving sufficient funding to direct their programs. Rosenblatt also states how, “the inequity experienced by minority artists is not a result of conscious discrimination, but rather a ‘struggle to get into the funding pipeline.’ ” This is further emphasized in James Palamari’s Access, Equity and Empathy, who claimed that “Students in high poverty schools continue to have the lowest access to arts education.” "Americans for the Arts" also confirms that, “students from poor or less educated families are much more likely to record low levels of participation in the arts…[while more] affluent youngsters are much more likely to show high engagement in the arts.” People of all backgrounds should be able to benefit from the advantages of an arts education or at least have the chance to develop a well-rounded character and climb the socioeconomic ladder.
I know that as a young artist who is also a part of these under-served groups, it is difficult to find a strong foundation when it comes to pursuing art. I’ve been lucky enough to have a teacher who is passionate enough to provide me with the resources I need to further my aspirations. However, not everybody can say the same.
As President, you have the responsibility to set the precedent and emphasize the importance of arts education across the nation, by focusing federal funding to help underprivileged groups thrive in the world arts.