The Top 10 Skills Children Learn From the Arts

Posted by Lisa Phillips On November - 26 - 2012

Lisa Phillips

1. Creativity – Being able to think on your feet, approach tasks from different perspectives and think ‘outside of the box’ will distinguish your child from others. In an arts program, your child will be asked to recite a monologue in 6 different ways, create a painting that represents a memory, or compose a new rhythm to enhance a piece of music. If children have practice thinking creatively, it will come naturally to them now and in their future career.

2. Confidence – The skills developed through theater, not only train you how to convincingly deliver a message, but also build the confidence you need to take command of the stage. Theater training gives children practice stepping out of their comfort zone and allows them to make mistakes and learn from them in rehearsal. This process gives children the confidence to perform in front of large audiences.

3. Problem Solving – Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.

4. Perseverance – When a child picks up a violin for the first time, she/he knows that playing Bach right away is not an option; however, when that child practices, learns the skills and techniques and doesn’t give up, that Bach concerto is that much closer. In an increasingly competitive world, where people are being asked to continually develop new skills, perseverance is essential to achieving success.

5. Focus – The ability to focus is a key skill developed through ensemble work. Keeping a balance between listening and contributing involves a great deal of concentration and focus. It requires each participant to not only think about their role, but how their role contributes to the big picture of what is being created. Recent research has shown that participation in the arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Who Ruffles My Professional Feathers?

Posted by Stephanie Spalding On November - 29 - 2011

Stephanie Spalding

For someone who is employed by an arts organization and considers herself an arts advocate, I sure question my ability to think creatively.

Am I thinking outside of the proverbial box? Do I read enough blogs and take in enough industry research to resourcefully solve problems and suggest new projects or strategies?

In an effort to address this issue — I am taking a cue from the inspiring presentation of Oliver Uberti, design editor for National Geographic, who I had the pleasure of listening to during the National Arts Marketing Project Conference.

It was time to geek out and make a chart.

I needed to take an inventory of something sort of concrete, sort of reflective and personal and sort of plain fun. And he seemed to have gained insights into an alcoholic beverage consumption chart, so why not?

Question: Who feeds my inspiration and what qualities do they possess?

Goal: By creating a grid to chart out who challenges me and what type of “thinkers” my challengers are, I will better understand where to look for insight and maybe even where I am lacking. Read the rest of this entry »

The Intrinsic Benefits of Arts Education

Posted by Kristen Engebretsen On October - 18 - 2011

Kristen Engebretsen

I recently authored a post titled The Top 10 Ways to Support Arts Education, but I’m finding that I get more requests from people asking for reasons why arts education should be supported, not how.

So as a companion piece to the how of supporting arts education, here I offer reasons why arts education should be supported.

Usually, when making the case for arts education, I direct people to resources like the recent Reinvesting in Arts Education report by the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities. It compiles all of the classic arguments in favor of arts education: it boosts student achievement, it increases student engagement, and it helps to close the achievement gap.

My colleague Randy Cohen has also offered reasons to support arts education in his Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts post. He, too, cites academic achievement, but he also mentions the role of arts education in preparing students with 21st century job skills, like communication and creativity.

However, this post is not about what arts education does in terms of other achievement areas. Rather, it is about what the arts intrinsically do for students. Read the rest of this entry »

I.Q. Scores Rising, Creativity Scores Falling

Posted by Sarah Murr On September - 12 - 2011

Sarah Murr

While research studies show that Intelligence Quotient (IQ) continues to increase with each new generation, creativity scores are decreasing. This fact should alarm everyone.

In fact, it has already gotten the attention of American business that desperately wants to – needs to – hire the brightest and the best to generate the next innovative ideas for products or services that will keep our businesses competitive in a global marketplace.

You may ask, “why are creativity scores decreasing?”

One possible answer comes from Sandra Ruppert, director of the Arts Education Partnership, a national coalition of arts, business, education, philanthropic, and government organizations who said, “We have a whole generation of teachers and parents who have not had the advantage of arts in their own education.”

So what does being creative have to do with an innovative workforce?

IBM’s 2010 survey of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the number one leadership competency for the workforce of the 21st century. However, tight state budgets and a lack of appreciation for what an arts education provides a young mind, and subsequently an adult mind, have resulted in the abandonment or near abandonment of arts programs across the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Emerging Ideas: Seeking and Celebrating the Spark of Innovation

Posted by Ebony McKinney On July - 25 - 2011

Welcome to the Emerging Ideas: Seeking and Celebrating the Spark of Innovation blog salon. This Salon is part of a larger effort on the part of the Emerging Leaders Council to help Americans for the Arts and the field at-large learn from the best and brightest thinkers and doers in communities around the country.

In January, we decided to initiate a year-long research project by asking, “What lessons can the rest of the field learn or take away from novel, under-the-radar, and locally-based ideas, projects or approaches to old problems?”

We were looking for great examples of innovative, on-the-ground projects or initiatives that deserve wider attention because of their potential to serve as a model for the rest of us.

Hopefully many of you were able to attend our Idea Lab at the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego this year. Several of this salon’s bloggers were gathered in conversation there.

This fall, our committee will present a selection of in-depth profiles on some of the innovative ideas, projects and themes we’ve uncovered throughout the year. This week’s salon is an effort to expand and frame that conversation. Read the rest of this entry »