Art is not Just for Artists

Similar to how students are required to take STEM classes, students should be required to take an arts class.

Loves reading poetry and painting.

“Do you think art will be useful to your future?”

As the common question is asked to a group of tenth graders, the common response is the same. The answer is simple for them, “no”.

“Math and science are the most important subjects, they are the one that earn the big bucks.” A member of a math team explains.

“I can’t get a job with art.” Rosa Lamas worries.

Why are students constantly believing that art programs are useless or “art is trash”? The answer is quite simple, there is a lack of funding in the Clark County School District Schools which depreciates the importance of art education in schools.

The risk of art programs getting cut is high in Nevada. Every year the budget for art programs diminishes as the Clark County School District has a $68 million budget deficit for the 2018–2019 school year. Since 2009, $711 million has been cut from the school budget. Art programs have been facing the risk of getting cut for 10 years. “I’m not sure if I will be able to keep my job any sooner, I feel like the lack of pay along with the ongoing conern that art teachers and art classes is something to be concerned about.” Teacher A worries about this cut as the deficit inceases annually. “It’s not only the concern of our jobs, but our students futures, we are already one of the worst school districts in the nation, removing an art course will deflate a student’s well roundedness.

Art needs to be kept in schools to help students embrace their creativity and think outside of the box. When they think outside of the box, they can solve future world problems and work better with other people.

We need to focus on implementing a policy that will mandate an art education credit. “When the school board mandates a credit, it has all students participate in it and explore. We require math to be taught and science for a certain number of years. Why can’t we do the same for art for 1 year?” Art teacher Jamie mentions how the school does not care about art education as they do not require students to take it. By requiring a policy where students are required to have 1 art credit, students can explore the arts and decide on whether or not it is a good fit for them. At Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas, high school students must have 1 year of the arts credit in order to graduate. Students not only achieve their academic pursuits but they further explore who they are by finding their strengths and weaknesses in the arts.

“I feel more well rounded having a year of the arts, it gives me a way to express myself and try something new.” A freshman from Coral explains how she wants to become a doctor, and art later helped her in her studies as she was able to work with something “unorthodox”.

Along with that, we need to have the school district reach out to politicians and the CCSD Board of Trustees come to an agreement on how they spend the money. The CCSD Board of Trustees increasingly fail to represent the voices of the school dsitrict, leading on to poor money making decisions. “Every year there are thousands of dollars going into waste, that money can be used to continue funding art programs.” With Governor Sandolak’s appointment as governor, there is a hope that art programs in Nevada will be kept as he can speak to the trustees and change the way money is being spent.

8th grade student from Clark County created this painting to show how art benefits her in school. “Art helps me visualize different perspectives and helps me in school as I feel like I can solve problems and analyze different situations.”
Place like the Smith Center of Performing Arts have been involved with the Clark County School District to further encourage art education in schools. With public organizations and art centers helping schools, more students can get involved with art and save art programs through advocacy througout the community.