My view: Keep arts programs in education

By Carlie Adair

Published: Friday, Nov. 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

David Perez, 8, Armando Batalla, 8, and Nathen Velasquez, 8, work with Mary Young to make Fossil Vitras at the Guadalupe School in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 11, 2012. Professional glass artists from the Glass Art Guild of Utah shared their artistic talents with the 60 students enrolled in Guadalupe School's summer program. Students used glass donated from Red Butte Garden to create unique art pieces and created an additional group piece of art for the School to auction off at a later date.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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As technology pervades our lives and education systems become prevalent to using its devices, can we say that technology is really improving our lives and the lives of children? Here is my concern: A high school in Draper is being built to use top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art technology to help students become great scientists, computer programmers, doctors, etc.

This plan may serve those interested in pursuing those professions, but what about those with no interest and, frankly, no talent in those fields? The arts are being taken out of school systems and communities. Funding has decreased. The children with interest in dancing, singing, painting, sculpting, etc. are being suppressed.

Culture within school systems and societies could diminish. The arts are important in education for various reasons. Gillian Lynn, the choreographer for the famed Broadway production of "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera," was accused of being diseased in some way, speculated to have ADHD, but in the 1930s they just figured she was a terrible student because she couldn't sit still.

Making a long but successful story short, Lynn's mother was instructed to put her daughter in dance school. Once in dance school, Lynn made a career for herself as an established dancer and choreographer. Could this not possibly be the pathway for those students who have the talent or the desire to become something other than a scientist or a doctor? I think so. I believe in the arts programs in the school system and communities. They provide culture, entertainment, productive people involved in communities and active in creating jobs.

Students should not be limited to subjects that won't help them develop their own talents. Yes, there are schools just for performing arts. But students who enroll there enroll by choice. Cutting arts programs give students two choices: not to take arts program classes or enroll in these performing arts programs that could be pricier. And these performing arts schools are limited themselves, usually just based on theater and dance.

From what I have observed as I have participated in summer arts programs and teaching dance is that these subjects bring confidence. When a child finds his talent and passion, it doesn't just show in his face, but the work that he creates, as well. Why should we limit a child's or student's ability to learn, explore and delve in their talents?

Arts programs, especially after-school programs, help develop outlets for children and teens. These programs can help students express their feelings in a healthy way, whether it's by interpretive dance, playing a character in a show, drawing, writing a story or writing song lyrics; it doesn't matter.

The arts programs are there to nurture and encourage creativity in a safe way. We need to keep the arts programs in the education systems.

Carlie Adair is senior communications major at Southern Utah University.

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