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10 Reasons Why Art Education Is Important For a Child's Development

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

Some people believe art education doesn't play much of a role in a child's development. However, without art, a child lacks exposure to culture and creativity. Here are 10 more reasons why children should have access to art education.

Art has a tangible, essential and measurable effect on us. Unlike what most people think, art is not an extra frivolous pursuit. Nor is it reserved for a select few who excel in the area or for high-brow events.

Read on for 10 reasons why art education is imperative.

1. Art is Good for Brains

The moment we view art, even without trying to critically examine it, the contemplation sectors of our brains begin firing.

When people participate in art exercises, regardless of technique, aptitude and regardless of the end result, important parts of the brain are turned on.

The areas of the brain called the hypothalamus, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventral striatum are stimulated. These parts of the brain are responsible for rewards, appetite regulation, calculating risk, impulse control and detection of social rules.

In seniors, participating in artistic events and created art gives them increased cognitive function.

This is a big reason why the importance of art education cannot be overstated.

2. Art Improves Grades

There is an undeniable correlation between art and academic achievements.

A two-year study showed that 22% of students improved in math scores and 12% had better reading levels after arts were brought to their underprivileged school.

Other research shows that schools with arts programs score higher on standardized test scores.

Putting tests aside, the benefits of art education include enabling youth to broaden their scope of participation. Even in seemingly unrelated areas such as math and science.

Children who regularly partake in art activities are four times more likely to participate in math and science fairs, win awards for writing and receive academic achievement awards.

Take a look at these 6 children's charities that need your help.

3. Art Has Developmental Benefits For Kids

Young children develop important fine motor skills when they participate in fine arts. The skills of holding crayons, scissors and paintbrushes are essential for little ones.

Art also gives kids the chance to stretch their vocabulary. They begin to use descriptive words to discuss their art and how they feel about the art they see around them.

Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are two of the highest sought soft skills employers look for. These important skills are cultivated during art creation.

Kids begin to make decisions, see the result of certain actions and learn specifics of what works and what doesn't. In art, kids experiment, take risks and allow their creativity to bloom.

Tactile art such as working with clay or beads enables youngsters to work on their visual and spatial skills. These milestones are the building blocks for progressively more complex skills in the years to come.

4. Art Helps Kids Become Valuable Employees

In today's high-tech, instant-access cacophonous society, the rising generation will need to learn how to make choices based on visual information. Today's kids will have to learn how to be conscientious consumers in a world filled with marketing techniques that tell them they need to buy, buy, buy.

Creating arts is limitless. It allows children to become innovators. They use materials in unconventional ways and don't allow the rules to stop them. This will serve them well as adults where the vast majority of jobs are ones that don't even exist yet.

Art, of course, improves a person's creativity. Art challenges children to discover infinite possibilities and think outside the box. Once they are comfortable doing that as children, it will be much easier for them in the years to come as adults.

Collaboration is an important skill children learn by having art education in the school curriculum. Kids learn to be accountable for their part in the group. They begin to see that everyone has something they can contribute and that there is more than one way to reach the end goal.

Mistakes are inevitable in life. Learning to take ownership of them and fix them without dwelling on these mistakes will serve kids well in their future careers.

Society now and in the future will need forward thinkers who are comfortable looking for innovative solutions.

Check out what we can learn from kid entrepreneurs.

5. Art Education Builds Confidence

Arts, especially performing arts, builds confidence as individuals come outside of their comfort zones.

As they work hard, practice and are dedicated, they inevitably improve. Then, their confidence grows as they accomplish their goals.

When a child puts her heart and soul and many hours into her art project, she will feel an enormous sense of accomplishment when she completes it.

Art education allows participants to create and succeed in multiple (sometimes unexpected) ways. Parents and teachers can praise the effort regardless of the outcome.

Maybe the child used color in an unexpected way, or perhaps his use of texture is unique. There is always something positive to say about a child's artwork. This positive reinforcement builds children's self-confidence and encourages them to keep making art.

Art can be used to track progress and achievements. A binder, folder or photo book of completed artworks is tangible proof of each child's masterpieces.

Check out our kids' art gallery.

6. Art Gives Children a sense of Belonging

Connections between culture, arts, and sense of belonging have been studied.

The arts increase a person's sense of belonging to a community. Other pathways to feeling attachment include activism, faith, and sports.

One of the reasons why we need art is to bring humans together. Social connectedness is a natural outcome of art education. Canadians who attend arts performance are 34% more likely to do a favor to a neighbor.

Attending art exhibits or performances correlates with high volunteering and donation rates as well as feeling a sense of belonging to one's country.

Art education helps children and adults attach to a larger community, not just an artistic community, though art can certainly do that. It also connects them to our local neighborhoods, cities, and countries.

These attachments then leads them to engage in social action and citizenship - a vital aspect of community living.

7. Art is a Different Language

Art says things that even words cannot say. You don't need a shared language to communicate through art.

Anjana Iyer created an art project to represent 30 untranslatable words. This project is part of the "100 Days Project," that invites artists to spend 100 days in a row doing and creating what they love.

Art allows children who have been diagnosed with autism or ADHD or who are non-verbal connect to the outside world.

Art therapy for these types of children increases their sense of accomplishment, their social skills, their communication and also helps tackle the emotional issues that are often very difficult to address.

Children who participate in art education learn a new language much more easily. Art provides the scaffolding they can use to learn many linguistic forms.

The arts--be it a picture, drama, song, or dance--help kids learn a language and related cognitive skills that support learning across various areas. Childen learning a new language, who have learning disabilities or who are under-developed benefit from art education to improve language learning.

Additionally, art transcends all boundaries. "Art has no borders. Art has no language. Art doesn't belong to a single faith." said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during the Oscars lunch in 2017.

Allowing children to work in a space and medium that has no borders unleashes their creativity, the scope of their imagination and opens up a world of possibilities for their futures.

8. Art Makes You Healthy

Research shows that older adults who create art or attend art events have lower levels of high blood pressure as well as better physical functioning compared to adults that did not engage in any art.

Researchers analyzed and created a report on the findings of over 100 studies on the effects of art on physical and psychological health.

They found that music and visual arts affected patients in these positive ways:

  • Art allows patients to forget about their illness temporarily so they can focus on positive life experiences.

  • Making art helped patients hold on to who they were before they became ill.

  • Art projects gave patients a sense of achievement.

  • Creative mediums allowed patients to express their feelings.

  • Art reduced stress by lowering levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).

The benefits of art participation are not limited to chronically ill persons. Reductions in distress, negative emotions and depression can benefit everyone.

The process of creating art doesn't just make you feel better, it also creates measurable, physical changes inside your body. One study showed that art affected bodily cells in patients to improve their immune system.

Creating art makes you focus on details and pay more attention to your environment. These are the same tactics that meditation uses. Art, like meditation, helps people live in the moment and more fully enjoy the simple pleasures around them. All of which lead to improvements in general health.

9. Art Lowers Stress

Along the lines of being healthy, art education lowers stress levels. KidsHealth confirms that even preschoolers experience stress. Feeling overwhelmed, too busy, social and academic pressure and family relationships all add to stressors in children's lives.

Art creates a space where a person can have a meditative-like focus. In this restful state, your mind temporarily pushes all your worries aside.

Stress in our lives and the lives of our children is unavoidable. However, we can diminish its impact on our lives with proper nutrition, quality time with loved ones and activities that bring us peace (such as art).

10. Art Improves Happiness Levels

On average, we have 60,000 thoughts each day and 95% of them are exactly the same as the thoughts we had in our head yesterday. Sadly, most of those thoughts are negative.

Creating or viewing art allows us to move away from those cyclical thoughts towards a new landscape of thought and ideas. By being totally immersed in our creative projects we may find we have entered what's known as "the zone" or flow in positive psychology.

This mental state that comes out of creating art gives us a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of whatever we are doing.

Here we experience a feeling a sense of serenity. A sense of being outside of the same old everyday routine. This, in turn, leads to our personal development or in other words, happiness.

Pablo Picasso said "Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life." This is perhaps the most important reason why art education is vital.

Museum visits, painting, doodling or even coloring all have the same end result: an increase in happiness.

A study by neurobiologist and University College London professor Semir Zeki found that looking at artwork can, in fact, have the same psychological effect as being in love.

Professor Zeki showed over 30 test participants various artworks and mapped their brains' reactions to each.

He found that this visual stimulation increased levels of dopamine (the brain's reward and pleasure centers) akin to the levels in people's brains when they use recreational drugs or experience romantic love.

Last Words

Art education is crucially important for several reasons. In children, it helps with developmental milestones, improved academic performance, future success in their careers and connections to others and the world around them.

In young and old, art improves our quality of life by decreasing the negative and heightening the positive feelings in our bodies and brains.

We hope this list of 10 reasons art education is vital have been helpful to you.

Know a young artist whose art would make a fabulous t-shirt? Recommend an artist on our website.

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