This page is a collection of resources, thoughts, quotes, and research that highlights the importance of every student having the opportunity to have an art class. Nationwide, less than 1/2 of our students now have that opportunity. 

"The purpose of art is not to produce a product. The purpose of art is to produce thinking. The secret is not the mechanics or technical skill that create art - but the process of introspection and different levels of contemplation that generate it. Once you learn to embrace this process, your creative potential is limitless. Artwork should be an active verb (a lens by which to view the world) not a passive noun (a painting that sits dormant in a museum). Creativity lies NOT in the done but in the doing. Art is active and incomplete. Always shifting, always becoming. Art is a sneak peak into the future of potential, of what could be. Not a past result of what has been already done. Art is a process not a product. Art is a human act. Art is Risky. Generous. Courageous. Provocative. You can be perfect, or you can make art. You can keep track of what you will get in return for your effort, or you can make art. You can enjoy the status quo, or you can make art. This is the purpose for why art should not be cut from education." Eric Wahl

"Creating anything beautiful is therapeutic. And yes, it's something we all can do. I'm always sad when I hear someone say they simply are not artistic. God made us in His image and He is the ultimate Creator. We need to learn to tap in to that element of our lives if we think we're not." Charlotte Key McCann 


Art Advocacy: Learning to Speak the Language of Your Audience, by Amber Kane,

NAEA advocacy flier

The Artful Advocate, blog by Phyllis Levine Brown

Artedguru - Advocacy Tips

The Power of Art To Build Strong Youth and Heal Trauma, Alex M. Johnson, Huffington Post

Stem? Steam? Where Does Art Fit In? Phyllis Levine Brown, There's a Dragon In My Art Room

Art Is the Most Important School Subject, Will Doolittle, The Post Star

Why Art Teachers Are The Most Important Teachers In the School, Matt Fussell,

Student Success; Why We Need Art In Schools, National Assembly of State Arts Assemblies, YouTube

Encourage Creativity; Teach the Arts, Americans For the Arts, Youtube

The Importance of Arts Education, National Geographic Channel, Youtube

Springfield Public Schools, "Art Speaks," Youtube

 The following examples of research are from the National Art Education Association website and
   "A fine arts education — including music, theater, drawing, painting, or sculpture — whether in practice or theory, has been a part of any well-rounded curriculum for decades — but that may be changing. Many schools today are cutting back or eliminating their art programs due to budget constraints. It is estimated that by the end of this year, more than 25% of public high schools will have completely dismantled them. These stats aren’t just bad news for teachers working in the arts, such as those at traditional schools for dance or online colleges for photography. Numerous studies done over the past decade have demonstrated the amazing benefits of such an integral education facet. Students who don’t have access to art classes may not only miss out on a key creative outlet, but might also face greater difficulty mastering core subjects, higher dropout rates and more disciplinary problems.
      Here, we’ve listed some of the biggest on the arts in education conducted over the past decade. Taken on by research organizations, college professors and school districts themselves, the studies reveal the power of art to inspire, motivate and educate today’s students. And, of course, demonstrate what a disservice many schools are doing by undervaluing such an integral part of their education and development.
 "The 2006 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum study on art education showed a link between arts education and improved literacy skills. The study was the result of a pilot program through the Guggenheim called Learning Through Art, which sent artists into schools to teach students and help them create their own masterpieces. Kids who took part in the program performed better on six different categories of literacy and critical thinking skills than those who did not. 

"A 2005 report by the Rand Corporation called “A Portrait of the Visual Arts” argues that art education does more than just give students a creative outlet. It can actually help connect them to the larger world, ultimately improving community cohesion. A bold assertion, but not one without merit. Students from lower income families often get little exposure to the arts if they are not provided by schools. The report shows that arts education can help close the gap between socioeconomic groups, creating a more level playing field between children who may not be exposed to these enrichment experiences outside of school and some of their more privileged peers."

"Teachers and students alike benefit from schools that have strong art climates, a 1999 study called “Learning In and Through the Arts” demonstrated.The report studied students at 12 New York, Connecticut, Virginia and South Carolina schools to compile their results. Not only were students at schools with high levels of art education earning higher scores on critical thinking tests, but teachers also seemed happier. That wasn’t all, however, as teachers at schools that emphasized arts education enjoyed greater job satisfaction, were more interested in their work and likely to be innovative and pursued personal development experiences. It’s not a trivial finding, as what is good for instructors is often very good for their students as well."
"The Center for Arts Education published a report in 2009 that suggests arts education may improve graduation rates. Taking a look at the role of arts education in New York public schools, this report found that schools with the lowest access also had the highest dropout rates. Conversely, those with the highest graduation rates also had the greatest access to arts education and resources. While there are undoubtedly a number of other factors that play into graduation rates, the research in this study and others like it (most notably The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention,) has found that many at-risk students cite participation in the arts as their reason for staying. Participation in these activities has a quantifiable impact on levels of delinquency, truancy and academic performance."
"A 2011 study called “Reinvesting in Arts Education” found that integrating arts with other subjects can help raise achievement levels. Arts education may not just help raise test scores, but also the learning process itself, as a recent study revealed. This report on the Maryland school system found that skills learned in the visual arts could help improve reading and the counterparts fostered in playing an instrument could be applied to math."
"A study of Missouri public schools in 2010 found that greater arts education led to fewer disciplinary infractions and higher attendance, graduation rates and test scores. Using data submitted by the state’s public schools, the Missouri Department of Education and the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education compiled this report. They found that arts education had a significant effect on the academic and social success of their students. Those with greater arts participation were more likely to come to class, avoid being removed and graduate. Additionally, they demonstrated greater proficiency in mathematics and communication."
"In “Neuroeducation: Learning, Arts and the Brain,” Johns Hopkins researchers shared findings showing that arts education can help rewire the brain in positive ways.Aspects of training in the arts, like motor control, attention and motivation, were studied by researchers who participated in the report, with some interesting results. In one four-year study, students motivated to practice a specific art form and spent time with focused attention increased the efficiency of their attention network as a whole, even when working in other areas of study — and it improved their fluid IQ scores."
"A 2009 survey, part of the “Nation’s Report Card: Arts 2008″ report, found that access to arts education opportunities hasn’t changed much in a decade. Many of the problems that plagued arts education programs in schools ten years ago are still major issues today, this survey revealed. Middle school students across the nation haven’t seen an increase in access to music and visual arts education, and their understanding of its tenets remains low — especially in certain disenfranchised socioeconomic and racial groups. Many believe the numbers are even worse today, as the survey was conducted prior to the economic woes that have paralyzed many schools systems in recent years. As in 1997, the 2008 survey showed that only 47% of students had access to visual arts education, and just 57% to music education. The survey attempted to look at theater and dance programs, but since so few schools offer them, they were dropped from the study."

info-graphic by Mrs. P,


1. The arts teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships. Unlike much of the curriculum in which correct answers and rules prevail, in the arts, it is judgment rather than rules that prevail.
2. The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.
3. The arts celebrate multiple perspectives. One of their large lessons is that there are many ways to see and interpret the world.
4. The arts teach children that in complex forms of problem solving purposes are seldom fixed, but change with circumstance and opportunity. Learning in the arts requires the ability and a willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
5. The arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.
6. The arts teach students that small differences can have large effects. The arts traffic in subtleties.
7. The arts teach students to think through and within a material. All art forms employ some means through which images become real.
8. The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.
9. The arts enable us to have experience we can have from no other source and through such experience to discover the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
10. The arts' position in the school curriculum symbolizes to the young what adults believe is important.

SOURCE: Eisner, E. (2002). The Arts and the Creation of Mind, In Chapter 4, What the Arts Teach and How It Shows. (pp. 70-92). Yale University Press. Available from NAEA Publications. NAEA grants reprint permission for this excerpt from Ten Lessons with proper acknowledgment of its source and NAEA.

     "So, even if students score well on the tested subjects (mainly reading and math), have we really equipped them to complete in a world and in workplaces where higher-order skills like problem-solving and project-based learning are most valued? And what about how we inculcate a love of learning, or simply an engagement in schooling? There's no way our students can become the thinkers, innovators, and leaders of tomorrow if they have exclusively been "taught to the test," and taught only the subjects tested. That is not good enough. Students need rich, well-rounded curricula that ground them in areas ranging from science to the arts, history to government. Curricula should focus not just on content in key subject areas but also those higher-order skills such as critical thinking that are so necessary for college and career, and so vital to creating a new generation of inquisitors and innovators."
SOURCE: Weber, K., editor, (2010). Waiting For Superman, In Chapter 8, Five Foundations For Student Success, by Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

    "If you look at the value of art through arts integration, it is a unique way for students to grasp complex or difficult concepts in a playful, imaginative and more accessible way. This practice is in place in schools internationally, as I observed when visiting schools in India through a NAEA professional development trip where all subjects (especially reading, writing and math) are enriched through arts integration especially at the primary level. Aside from arts integration, I have also witnessed time and time again students who are not performing well in other subjects gain confidence through their success in art, and experience positive feedback and confidence in their achievements. I think having this “winner” experience boosts their self-image and gives them a better chance to succeed in other subject areas as well. Finally, through showcasing student work and highlighting the accomplishments of students through art shows, art teachers bring opportunities for students and their families to glow! The artwork lining the halls of the school adds color and reflects the unique vision and personality of each student, bringing the school's halls to life. If the art teacher is fortunate enough to work with other teachers within a fine art department, it is wonderful to collaborate and feature the diverse talents of all fine art students during a fine art night! This is great on all levels, for students, teachers, parents, the local community and the school." Jill Ritchey, high school art instructor and the Southeastern NAEA Art Educator of the Year
     "In the art classroom, we have a unique opportunity to weave the entire academic curriculum into a beautiful tapestry. We teach our students how to measure with rulers and about ratios and proportions. We teach them about their own history and about other cultures. Each and every art class is like a little science lesson, full of problem-solving, predicting, and experimenting. We are the catalysts of communication, working with kids to get them to communicate verbally, symbolically, visually, and in writing while they increase their vocabulary exponentially. Art teachers have the unique ability to make connections across subject areas, to reach and motivate difficult students, and to bring beauty to the community. The art classroom is a hidden treasure trove too often misunderstood and overlooked in the schools due to the modern (and necessary) focus on math and reading. Finally, our art shows bring the community together like nothing else does. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and other extended family members come to these shows to appreciate the work of our students." Anna Nichols; middle school art instructor

article by Mrs. Anna Nichols


Anonymous said...

My number one concern is that they are diminishing the art programs. We get very little funding, IF we get funding. We are overworked and underpaid. Our supplies are dwindling, and our time is limited. We, as art teachers, need even more time for in school prep. Yet, we are being strung out from school to school with very little prep. Some teachers are even having to fill their prep time teaching math and reading to various children. So... my primary concern is that the arts are diminishing in value in the eyes of those in power. I love my job, my students, and my principals. I am incredibly fortunate. But I see that many students are not getting the attention they need, and we can not delve into the kind of projects we might want to - because we simply don't have prep time in between the classes to prepare for them.


You are not alone in your concerns - it is apparent that art programs are dwindling in Alabama and I am hoping that AAEA and other advocacy organizations will be helping with this, soon! Studies do show that children who receive art education score higher on standardized tests and are more motivated to attend school. We as art educators know, also, that kids who have art classes are more well-rounded, creative problem-solvers, too!

Of the 513 art teachers we have found here in the state, 62 teachers serve more than one school (that is about 12%) - I even heard from a wonderful lady down in Mobile who serves SIX different schools and calls herself an "itinerant" art teacher! I have learned so much from this project and I am more grateful for my job than ever. I have higher numbers this year than before, but I teach at only one school and I don't have to remember over 1000 names. I don't know how art and music teachers function when they are spread out among different schools! My hats off to you!


“For objectivism, any way of knowing that requires subjective involvement between the knower and the known is regarded as primitive, unreliable, and even dangerous. The intuitive is derided as irrational, true feeling is dismissed as sentimental, the imagination is seen as chaotic and unruly, and storytelling is labeled as personal and pointless. That is why music, art, and dance are at the bottom of the academic pecking order and the “hard” sciences are at the top.” Parker J. Palmer, The Courage To Teach

Objective, logical fact, does change. When used in the realm of imagination and creativity, one plus one can equal 3, or 5, or 11! The power of synergy, according to Steven Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People), is when people share ideas, they both bring “right” answers to the table and they find much more innovative and powerful solutions to problems together than when working alone.

There is so much power in intuition, in creativity, in imagination! Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Scientific “fact” is constantly changing. What we knew 100 years ago has been proven, if not wrong, then certainly in a different form than the original data. It takes imagination to be a great scientist. One cannot simply rely on the objective facts of the case. So many mysteries of the universe have yet to be discovered, much less understood, and understanding involves more than objective, logical, facts. How important it is to communicate to lawmakers that we must provide classes to our students that encourage creativity, facilitating more ways of “knowing” than just bare facts.