Impact of The Arts
Why The Arts Matter
National Arts Facts:
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that nationally the arts and culture sector was a $876.7 billion industry in 2022, representing 4.2% of the nations GDP, 4.6 million jobs and total compensation of $446 billion.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis & National Endowment for the Arts, 2022
Oregon Arts Facts:
U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that the arts and culture sector contributed $8 billion to Oregon's economy in 2020, representing 3.3% of the state's GDP, 60,994 jobs, and total compensation of $4.8 billion.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis & National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, 2022
How The Arts Impact Students
We know the arts are all about creativity because they allow kids to express themselves. Math and science are important, of course, but the visual arts push kids’ creativity and divergent thinking skills to the next level. If children practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future careers.
2. Improved Academic Performance
The arts don’t just develop a child’s creativity. The skills they learn often spill over into their academic achievement. A report by the Americans for the Arts states, “A student involved in the arts is four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.” I think most of us know this, too.
3. Fine-Tuning Fine Motor Skills
For younger kiddos, simple things like holding a paintbrush, making marks with pens, pencils or crayons, and cutting with scissors are important for the development of fine motor skills. Developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors. This continues throughout the years where students begin to merge their technical skills with their creative skills.
While mastering a subject certainly builds a student’s confidence, there is something special about participating in the arts. Using materials that turn into visual stories is magical, and it helps students feel more confident. As they improve and see their own progress, their self-confidence continues to grow.
5. Visual Learning
Drawing, painting, and sculpting in art class help to develop visual-spatial skills. As art educators, we know children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on that information.
6. Decision Making
We know the arts strengthen problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Learning how to make choices and decisions will certainly carry over into our students’ education and other parts of life.
As we are all aware, the arts can be challenging. I have always said, it’s called artwork for a reason! Successful artists don’t quit. They learn that hard work and perseverance pay off. This mindset matters as they grow. As artists choose their career paths, they will be asked to continually develop new skills and work through difficult projects.
8. Concentration Skills
As artists persevere through a painting or a drawing, focus and concentration are imperative. We know concentration skills are also vital for studying and learning in class as well as completing professional tasks later in life.
Many of the visual art projects I’ve had my students do require them to work together. They must share responsibility and compromise to achieve their common goal. I think the arts teach kids their contribution to the group is integral to its success.
Just like collaboration, kids in the arts learn they are accountable for their contributions to the group and to their individual artmaking. Mistakes are a part of life, and learning to accept them, fix them, and move on will serve students well as they grow older.