Why Art Matters

In education, it’s all about the 3 R’s―Readin’, wRitin’, and ‘Rithmatic.  

But what about aRt?  As priority is given to Math and English, art is often left behind, to the detriment of students.

Art in Limbo

For decades, art has spent most of its time on deck for the chopping block.  As federal and state funding decreases and the cost of operating a school increases, budgets need to be cut and often the first to be hit are art, music, and physical education.  With standardized tests increasingly becoming the focus of education, art is perpetually at risk of being dropped from our curricula across the country, pushed out, along with music and physical education when more emphasis is required for Math and English, a result of the No Child Left Behind Act.  

However, this is counterintuitive as arts education has been found to increase standardized test scores.  A 2010 study from NORC at the University of Chicago found that when there is a good art program, there are fewer disciplinary problems (students needing to be removed from class), attendance is higher and so are graduation rates and standardized test scores (particularly Math and Communication Arts).

What Art Teaches Students   

Art education isn’t just about learning to make a color wheel or the names of French Impressionists, it gives students valuable skills that they can use in other classes and throughout their lives too.  

Art teaches tolerance and empathy.  It helps students learn about people and places that are different from those in their world.  Art has been used throughout history to tell the stories of other peoples and cultures and the more we learn about other people and cultures, the more empathic to them we become.

Art teaches creativity.  Creativity isn’t just about making a toaster cozy out of dryer lint.  It’s about learning to think outside the box. Creativity breeds innovation and lets the imagination soar.

Art builds confidence.  Art comes in many forms and allows students to explore different mediums to find something they can excel at.  The choices are limitless. By providing challenges that can be overcome and risks to be taken, art leaves students with higher self-confidence and pride in their work. 

Art helps develop critical thinking skills.  A piece of art goes from an idea to a finished project and requires planning and problem-solving.  It compels students to break boundaries and scale obstacles to create their art while developing concentration skills.

Art levels the playing field.  Students who have lower socioeconomic status and have access to arts programs in high school are 3x more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than those without.     

When it comes to education, art is the glue that holds it all together, providing support and better comprehension in other areas of academics.  It remains a vital part of a well-rounded education.  

“Art is the highest expression of the human spirit.”―Joyce Carol Oates

At EAGLE College Preparatory Schools, we provide our students with a well-rounded education that builds character while following rigorous academic standards.  EAGLE schools are charter schools that work with communities and parents to provide a safe and loving environment for students in grades K-8 in the St. Louis area.  To find out more about EAGLE College Preparatory Schools in the St. Louis area, visit our website at or call us at (314) 664-7627.  We’d love to hear from you!