It's a no-brainer that not everyone is a great artist, but that doesn't mean one can't practice the use of art on a day-to-day basis- or if that’s too much, a week-to-week basis. Regardless, multiple studies have shown over the years that art education, especially in primary and secondary schools, improves our minds and the way we think and act, and our intelligence. Art is a vital subject to the younger mind- it helps kids understand life in a way that can’t be put into words and also has many developmental benefits attached.
According to Lynch (2012), these developmental benefits include: Motor skills, language development, decision making, visual learning, inventiveness, cultural awareness, and improved academic performance.
>Motor Skills: According to the National Institutes of Health, many developmental milestones are influenced by art- i.e. the average three year old should begin to draw circles as well as use safety scissors.
>Language Development: Making art/evaluating art helps develop basic descriptive language skills like the use of shapes, colors, sizes, etc.
>Decision Making: In the course of making art, kids are faced with multiple decisions that they have to make, this skill follows them throughout life. Art helps kids be more creative at problem solving in which they are forced to try something new, therefore taking them outside of their comfort zone.
>Visual Learning: Art education allows students to gain a new perspective on the world that's different than what they have read about-it helps kids interpret and use visual information and make their own decisions based off of what they see.
>Inventiveness: Art, itself, is an invention of its own- kids gain a sense of innovation and creation, which helps be more unique and creative on their own.
>Cultural Awareness: If kids understand where the artist is coming from and WHY they chose to do something, it helps them see someone else's perspective and interpretation of reality other than their own.
>Improved Academic Performance: Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between art and academic achievement- more about this will be detailed below
Improved Academic Performance:
Studies go back as far as the 1990's, and probably even further.
In 1996, with the YouthARTS Development Project, a study showed that art education has positive impacts on at-risk youth by decreasing delinquent behavior and acts of truancy. This study also showed that there was a positive correlation between academic improvement and those who participated in after school/summer programs that focused on arts and crafts.
In 1998, studies show that young artists, compared to their peers, are more likely to...
>Attend music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently
>Participate in youth groups nearly four times as frequently
>Read for pleasure nearly twice as often
>Perform community service more than four times as often
Fast-forward to 2006, where researchers STILL were finding correlations between art and improved academic achievement. Lead by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, this study suggests that the kids who were in one of the Guggenheim art programs outperformed those who were not in six categories based on literacy and critical thinking skills.
Typically when studies are done 10 years apart, you can expect to see some improvements or changes made to the results- but in this case, it doesn't. I think that says a lot about how art will always be a prominent tool we can use to sharpen our minds. The fact that it isn't being used more still baffles me, I can't stress enough how important it is to keep the arts programs in our youth's school system, especially when the developmental years are critical (primary school).