Articles On Art


If art could be proven to benefit society beyond that of visual pleasure, would society value it more?

How art is valued by society has a direct influence on the artist and his/her ability to make profits in the art market. Unfortunately most of the general population places art at the bottom of priorities when concerning necessities. The artist today not only must market his own work, but has the additional task of raising the general public's awareness of the importance of art in their daily life. It is necessary to promote the value of art beyond that of filling space on an otherwise blank wall. Fortunately a recent conference of the National Association of Independent Schools in San Francisco may be shedding light on art and it's value in education.

According to David Perkins, a specialist in artificial intelligence, and co-director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, experiential and reflective intelligence is greatly enhanced by using art as a tool to stimulate learning strategies. He listed imagination, persistence, evidence and juxtaposition as four of the essential steps toward scholastic success. "The arts are a playground for the imagination." Perkins said. "Einstein used his imagination to come up with the Theory of Relativity. He pictured the implications in his mind before he wrote down the mathematical formula."

The arts can be used to train minds in critical thinking as the viewer or listener tries to interpret the artist's meaning or draw conclusions from the work. By juxtaposing two pieces of music or two works of art the student can compare and contrast infusing insight, which can then be applied to other academic areas. Art can be used to ignite the imagination and to stimulate the process of evaluating problems and creating their solutions.

A similar study at UC Irvine and the University of Wisconsin have found that music, particular the process of learning to play the piano, increase preschoolers skills in science and math. Frances H. Rauscher, psychologist from the University of Wisconsin, believes that the lessons of music requires mental imagery, transforming mental images and being able to reason in sequence, which she feels is very similar to the skills needed in science. The research results indicated that students who received piano lessons scored an average of 34 higher on tests of spatial-temporal ability.

It is the art world's hope that research such as these two studies can convince the general population that art not only has an important place in our schools, but to cut the arts in education seriously undermines all academic education.