I frankly find discussions about whether art is important enough to be taught in schools rather unfortunate and somewhat ridiculous. It seems to me that the importance of the arts to education is a no-brainer. However, various educational systems seem to determine otherwise. I was asked to offer my observations concerning this topic, so I have provided a couple of random thoughts here:
When I was a child, I perhaps owned a few colored markers, BIC pens and #2 pencils that were the extent of my available art tools. My father used to work at a print shop and so despite the fact that I wasn’t well-equipped, I was fortunate to have ample paper on which to sketch and draw. In elementary school, I was encouraged to produce posters for art contests, to act and sing in school plays, and even participate in public speaking. I grew up in an era in which public art was everywhere—especially on subway cars and shop gates. In fact, a whole new genre of art developed around me: hip-hop. Because of the city I lived in, I had ample access to the fine arts. My sisters and my school programs would take me to the MET, MOMA, and occasionally to attend Broadway shows. I was essentially a poor kid, but lucky to have an inspirational world of art all around me. I certainly am a testament to the fact that the arts contributed to my success in school. I use what I learned from my arts experiences to express myself with all kinds of projects from illustrated history timelines to creative writing to musical slideshows (today’s PPT presentations). Effectively, I use what I learned for my arts experiences to become the design professional that I am today. I help inform, communicate, entertain, and educate and I’m proud of the fact that I can do this.