The European Union, ushering in “a new era of light”, is banning the sale and production of incandescent light bulbs. Europeans are hoarding these bulbs, not because they are more efficient, (they don’t last as long as the newer light bulbs, they produce unwanted heat, and they waste energy) but rather, because they are what we imagine when we imagine illumination. It is hard for us to think of something we have grown up with in a new light – even when we are thinking about new light.
When it comes to our thinking about arts education in our schools, we should remember that many of us grew up with arts education programs we took for granted. The public elementary school I attended had excellent visual art teachers, dedicated instrumental and vocal music teachers, inspired and inspiring theater teachers (I became a professional theater director), and even some dance instruction. All classrooms had pianos, and all my teachers knew how to play them.
But now, when we advocate for arts education for our children in our schools, we have a double challenge: 1) much of the arts education many of us grew up with and took for granted is GONE from our schools, and 2) in a digital age, we must advocate for arts education that has elements we never experienced: video production, podcasts, web design, digital music composition. We must move from nostalgia for the incandescent to advocacy for the florescent and the halogen and the Light Emitting Diode. Read the rest of this entry »