Pro/Con: Art programs vs. financial dilemma

So you aren’t a big art fan and you think that art should be the first thing cut in any college or school-type program. While I am not one to judge, the recent pattern of schools cutting art programs in a financial pinch has brought to my attention how much art means to different people.

Some think it’s the most ridiculous and pointless thing on planet Earth. Some need art to breath. Should schools cut their art programs? Does this help them, or does it damage their status? What are the pros and cons to keeping an art program and how are those measured against one another?

From an artist’s point of view, (which may be biased and I’ll try to keep my own opinions out of this), art can unlock a number of amazing things for any individual who chooses to dabble in it’s numerous forms.

First of all, according to years of research by countless individuals and groups, art can improve academic success as a rounded whole.

Art takes a ton of dedication, determination and confidence (showing people who you are, how you see the world and why you drew a pineapple in a painting class about daffodils). You have to practice wielding these difficult mental states to improve your artistic levels of talent.

If you learn to work hard on that painting you’ve been straining over, or finally mastered that level three ballet move, the mental training you utilized to complete your goals is universal – meaning it can be used for any subject, any goal and any dream.

You gain confidence from art and art gives you freedom to be the individual you’ve always wanted to be. Art teaches us about hard work and teaches us about what we are capable of.

Creativity also allows for an open mind, which not only leads to unique ways of accomplishing academic success but peels back bias so you can see things from another person’s point of view.

You may not agree with them, but listening, analyzing and simply watching will allow you to go so many places, gain so much more opportunity in life and teach humility.

Playing an instrument helps people grow as well. Instruments are very hard to learn; they take years of practice, hours of training, and months of solid dedication. Playing in front of others also boosts people’s confidence in themselves (when you find out you aren’t being booed off a stage, the world just seems to open up all sorts of doors).

Music also allows for fantastic concentration, which would serve anyone splendidly in the working world by giving them a driving work ethic. It helps people to plan better with others, lead and let themselves work with a team. It also works out parts of the brain we aren’t used to exercising.

They can learn that music is far more difficult to do then pretty much anything on the planet sans rocket science, and respect others for their own creative nature. Of course people take away knowledge from art differently, but art gives you the chance to allow yourself an open mind, allow yourself to gain a good work ethic with motivation and confidence.

As for the cons of erasing an art program from any university, the biggest one would have to be money. You need the space to work, you need a teacher with credentials, you need the materials, the textbooks – a television or whiteboard would be nice as well – and as the list goes on and on you get the point.

Art, unfortunately, costs a lot, and as it isn’t the most popular program to do, I can see why tossing some programs would be tempting (especially for schools who are down on cash).

Art is controversial on many, many layers, and differs in meaning to many, many people.

Whether or not you like it or you hate it, however, art has changed nations, inspired billions, and the question here is: Is it worth taking an art program away from willing, ready minds, when art could make all the difference in their future?