Oct 012003
 
Authors: Liz King

I am going to propose a radical idea. Perhaps the reason that

the United States consistently scores lower in math and science

than other countries is that we keep cutting funding for the

arts.

While regarded as something that can be discarded when times get

tough, education in and funding for the arts is vital for us to be

able to keep up with the rest of the world in math and science.

Students who receive training in the arts do better in school and

better in math in particular.

“First grade students who receive visual and musical arts

training as a regular part of classroom studies showed improved

reading skills and were significantly ahead in math skills compared

to control groups in other first grade classrooms,” according to an

article published by Brown University, “Study of Arts, Music May

Enhance Young Pupils’ Math and Reading Skills (1998).”

And it is not just true for elementary school-age children.

“Students who study the arts for more than four years scored 59

points higher on the verbal section and 44 points higher on the

math portion of the SAT than students with no course work or

experience in the arts,” according to a 1995 study by the College

Entrance Examination Board.

Colorado, as well as California and New York, is looking to cut

40 to 50 percent of arts budgets. So why are our politicians in

such a hurry to cut the funding for an arts structure in Colorado

that is already under funded? This is an especially important

question when you consider how much money the arts industry brings

in.

America’s nonprofit arts industry produces $134 billion in

economic activity annually. According to a recent study, “Arts and

Economic Prosperity: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts

Organizations and Their Audiences,” arts groups generate 4.85

million full-time jobs and $89.4 billion in household income, in

addition to tax revenues $6.6 billion for local governments, $7.3

billion for state governments and $10.5 billion for the federal

government.

The problem could center on the fact that Americans do not have

the sense of attachment to art, partly because we have rarely had

an art movement that connected with the vast majority of

Americans.

“Every other nation on earth understands the relationship

between culture and national identity, but not us. They’re not

looking at the big picture,” said Gerry Riggs, director of the

Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at

Colorado Springs.

Arts are neither expendable nor optional to our lives in the

United States.

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than

knowledge.”

I believe this to be true but how much longer will imaginations

be encouraged when money is obsolete for literature, music, dance

and art.

Liz is the assistant design managing editor for The Collegian.

She is looking forward to graduating this May and looking for a man

taller than 5’9″.

 

 

 

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