In July 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution designating the second week of September as Arts in Education Week.
Arts education includes dance, music, theater, media arts, literature, design and visual art. The resolution raised awareness of the value and importance of arts education.
The declaration states the importance of arts education because, it enables students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, imagination and creativity, discipline, alternative ways to communicate and express ideas, and cross-cultural understanding, which supports academic success across the curriculum as well as personal growth outside the classroom.
And that arts education has the power to make students want to learn not just within the arts, but other areas of study. The arts and humanities are integral to a complete education that gives young people the capacity to innovate and meet the challenges of a global marketplace.
All Durango schools are fortunate to have art specialists, visiting artists and teachers who see the value of integrating the arts into their classrooms.
Durango High Schools forward-thinking art and science teachers have developed a new small learning community called the School of Creativity, Innovation and Artistic Learning (SOCIAL), which will launch this year. SOCIAL is based on an arts-infused core curriculum to educate well-rounded people ready for 21st century thinking.
The congressional resolution also recognized the nonprofit arts sector as playing a significant role in arts education, as well as an economic engine in communities.
This is where the Durango Arts Center, Music in the Mountains, Stillwater Foundation, San Juan Symphony, Durango Childrens Chorale, Durango Chorale Society, Smiley Studios, Durango Community Access Television, The Back Space Theater and other amazing local nonprofit arts organizations contribute to our rich arts community.
Our nonprofits bring valuable programs, which in turn, generate money and help create jobs for some of the most interesting and creative people in town.
Research on the importance of arts education has grown tremendously in the last five years. Some research shows lower truancy rates with kids who have arts education; some show higher test scores and school interest. But ask an artist why he or she thinks it is important. The answer is that art is what feeds our soul.
Celebrate Arts in Education week by thanking an arts educator for enriching our lives.
Sandra Butler is the education coordinator at the Durango Arts Center. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.