By Avery Warren ’24
The arts are the usage of expression whether it is in the form of dance, painting, or music. It defines people, reflects on the past, and reveals a different world filled with emotion, beauty, and even agony. The arts should be publicly funded because it is essential to life. It develops communities, improves students’ achievement, as well as their mental health. Europe spends 2.43 billion dollars on Creative Europe which supports 300,000 artists. In contrast, the United States spends only 1.46 million dollars on the National Endowment of the Arts.
Not surprising, 80% of art programs in schools experience budget cuts. Evidence shows that students who frequently participate in the arts, watch fewer hours of TV, and participate more in community service, report less boredom. This creates better individuals in society and attentive students in the classroom. In a national sample of 25,000 students, students who are involved in the arts at an advanced level earned higher scores on standardized tests, rather than those with little or no experience. This presents how art improves grades and the overall performances of students. Another example worth mentioning is that the development of literacy skills among pre-kindergarteners originated from when the children were able to act out favorite stories. Therefore, arts also benefit younger students. Arts assist students succeed academically and socially.
Art is an outlet for numerous people and it is useful for one’s mental health and general happiness. Artistic activities are very calming. It allows one to stop thinking about the world around them and be more aware of their own physical state. Brain studies show that music helps with reading and math but promotes creativity, social development, and self-worth. Music gives one a deeper understanding of themselves and increases their self-confidence. Art enhances one’s love and empathy for others. One fascinating fact is that when an individual empathizes with people, they are less likely to experience stress. While art might be enjoyable or amusing, it also helps their well-being.
Even with countless reasons for the arts to be federally funded, there are still individuals who are against the idea. One prominent opponent is former president: Donald Trump. He proposed a budget plan that eliminates cultural organizations such as NEA, NEH, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and CPB. The arts connect people who are unlikely to come together. This helps women and men of different backgrounds to form a community. When people become involved in the design and upkeep of places, they develop an interest in maintaining the spaces, creating a connection between the people and these locations. This could make neighborhoods a better area to live, work and visit. Relating back to how art unifies people, public spaces and marketplaces are essential to an active community and it enables people to interact and meet neighbors. Research verifies how low-income residents in New York City neighborhoods with many cultural resources are healthier, better educated, and overall safer than those with no cultural resources. It also improves the attractiveness of the area to tourists and businesses. If art builds communities and encourages expression, why should it be limited or suppressed?
Since art is helpful for mental health, improving student achievement, and communities, it should be funded more by the government. One meaningful piece of artwork could redefine love, pain, or true beauty. It could tell a story without speaking a word or maybe enlighten people. A visually appealing piece could stir a certain feeling. Even though art is a significant part of society, people seem to confuse whether art is a luxury or a necessity.