In a war between artists and scientists, art is losing

Schools are now prioritizing their budget in favor of technology and science, while fine arts, music and theater programs are being dumped. This is partly due to debt that former students cannot pay back to the school because their current job does not pay them enough to do so.

According to the New York Times, “More and more states have adopted the idea of rewarding public colleges and universities for churning out students educated in fields seen as important to the economy.”

Even children in elementary level education are being pushed forward through school with the growing trend of convenient technology. Satori Elementary School is a prime example. In downtown Renton, this institution is all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The purpose of the specialized school is to give children a head start for a career with increasing job demand.

When asked why they want to teach children about STEM at such a young age, Liza Rickey, the Assistant Principal at Satori, stated that, “Students develop very strong identities right around middle school, so students that have never been exposed to computer science before then make decisions on their identity, and miss out on that opportunity to say ‘That isn’t something I’m interested in.’”

When asked about integrating art and science, a local street musician who performs at Pike Place Market, Jeremy Harp, said that, “Some things just don’t combine.”

Lisa Rickey believes that, “Within STEM is creativity. I believe in sticking to the STEM acronym for now because we don’t want to take away from why STEM is so important. While we have a STEM school, we are not building an army of programmers of computer scientists.”

Creativity tends to be associated with artistic ability, while the most common use of the word “intelligence” refers to “academic intelligence”. Intelligence can refer to several different interests. One could be musically intelligent or spatially intelligent.

Creativity is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, “The ability to produce original or unusual ideas.” Lateral thinking is defined as, “The solving of problems by an indirect and creative approach.”

“Creativity is a requirement of engineering. Without creativity, engineering cannot progress.” says Gowtham Kumar Golla, a programmer at Amazon.

“Choosing the correct solution for the problem is a creativity to me; whenever I see a problem, I get excited to solve it. On the engineering side, you need to think beyond what exists in the current world and find a solution, and that to me takes an extreme amount of creativity.”

When asked about the push towards more scientific and technological related occupations, Golla says, “It’s the surroundings that drives the people’s interest. They are seeing more technological innovation, so they are seeing the money and they are seeing the growth in technology more than the arts.”

Aside from just creativity, art therapy and music therapy are occupations that combine both art and science. It is a form of psychotherapy, recreational therapy, or occupational therapy. All techniques are meant as a way to help relieve stress and express feelings that patients may have a difficult time escaping.

The RISE institute here on campus, in room B237, mixes design and technology. With 3D printers and workshop classes, the RISE institute embraces the artistic side of BC students, and provides resources for students to create their art in a way that is more suitable for today’s society. The dean of RISE, Rita Bangera, is a strong supporter of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), and regularly invites art professors and students to come to the lab.

The bottom line of this discussion is equality. The government needs to stop limiting options for growing members of society in order to fit their own agenda. Those who pursue art should be able to have the same opportunity to approach any subject that they are interested in, regardless of financial position. Art is not any less important than science, just as letters are not any less important than numbers.