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Why Arts Matter

Supporting Evidence

 

A sampling of research and media materials addressing the benefits and impact of the arts.

 

Topics

 

Note: Articles are grouped by main focus but many cover more than one topic.

 

 


 

 

Economic Impact

Stories

 

Research

 

Opinion

  • Arts Jobs Are Jobs, Too
    Source: Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer
    Let your message be loud and let it be clear: "Arts funding is jobs funding."
  • Nonprofits: our economy’s overlooked engine
    Source: The State
    It’s important not to overlook a sector of our economy that has the power to both stimulate economic growth and provide a wide range of social good: the nonprofit sector.

 

The Arts and Workforce Preparation

Research

  • Tough Choices for Tough Times (PDF)
    Source: The National Center for Education and the Economy
    Executive summary of recommendations for preparing a 21st century workforce.
  • Ready to Innovate - Key Findings (PDF) or Full Report (PDF)
    Source: The Conference Board, Americans for the Arts, and the American Association of School Administrators
    A joint study investigating how businesses measure creativity and how the skills employers look for in new hires align with skills cultivated through art education.

 

Opinion

  • A Missing Piece in the Economic Stimulus: Hobbling Arts Hobbles Innovation
    Source: Psychology Today
    The surgeon who pioneered vascular suturing techniques started with lace making. Cell traffic is kept private thanks to a composer and an actress. Computer chips use principles of etching, silk screen printing, and photolithography. Neurologists can use dance notation to analyze their patients' problems. Samuel Morse was a visual artist. Alexander Graham Bell was a pianist. The arts have fostered innovation since the beginning.
  • Arts Education and the Innovative Workforce
    Source: Americans for the Arts
    If America’s workforce is to remain competitive on a global level, art education is indeed not a frill but an economic necessity.
  • How to Be Indispensable
    Source: Jonathan Fields, Entrepreneur and Author
    What is that single quality that makes someone precious and indispensable? Beyond intelligence, loyalty, kindness, respect, discipline, pride, passion and compassion, it’s… the ability to create.

 

Arts Education

Stories

  • Finding Voice in the Pain of a Family and Its Fall
    Source: The New York Times
    A South Carolina teenager straining to hold her family together became the writer who knew all her subjects’ flaws, but still felt affection for them. She wrote, she said, to heal herself and her family.
  • Cultural Arts Center keeping arts alive in schools
    Source: Dothan Eagle
    "When you look at improvement in academics, you have to look at it over time to get a true picture. I see a definitive change in children being excited about coming to school because we have things like steel drums, hip hop dance, and a Yamaha keyboarding lab. There is something else being added to the day besides two plus two equals four."

 

Research

  • ArtsEdSearch: a research road map for arts education
    Source: Arts Education Partnership
    A resource to explain and advocate for the role of arts education in preparing students to succeed. Reliable and objective research that examines how education in the arts affects students’ cognitive, personal, social and civic development. A well-designed matrix of topics including education setting, educational level and types of outcomes. Readers can find summaries of “What We Know” and a “List of Studies” for each area of arts education from early childhood through adult/lifelong learning. Because ArtsEdSearch is designed to be an interactive, growing resource, each area includes “Questions for New Research” to build on the existing research base. You’ll also find ongoing discussions among educators and others beginning to use ArtsEdSearch data to inform decision making.
  • What School Leaders Can Do To Increase Arts Education (PDF)
    Source: Arts Education Partnership
    Offers three concrete actions school principals can take to increase arts education in their schools, each supported with low-cost or no-cost strategies that other school leaders have found to be effective.
  • Engaging Adolescents: Building Youth Participation in the Arts
    Source: National Guild for Community Arts Education
    Meaningful engagement in arts education can have a life-changing impact on teens. This initiative and guidebook from the National Guild for Community Arts Education outlines a holistic approach that integrates arts learning with principles of youth development..
  • Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement In Music and Theatre Arts (PDF)
    Source: ARTSEDGE: The Kennedy Center's Arts Education Network
    Study conducted by The Imagination Project at UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California at Los Angeles explores interactions between the arts and human development and achievement, using the National Educational Longitudinal Survey (NELS:88), which has followed more than 25,000 students in American secondary schools for 10 years.
  • The Imagine Nation Poll
    Source: the imagine nation
    Documents the growing public demand for education that supports the imaginative development of children.
  • Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement (PDF)
    Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
    “Makes the case for the arts” based on sound educational research.
  • Arts Education Facts
    Source: Americans for the Arts
    Key points about the benefits of arts education; highlights from key national research; arts education standards; and additional resources.

 

Opinion

  • The importance of music education in schools
    Source: CNN
    What is necessary in the microsociety of high school is a sturdy vessel in which to navigate a safe and fulfilling journey to the next transition. In high school, music programs are that vehicle.
  • The Lost Generations of Arts Education
    Source: Americans for the Arts ARTSblog
    When we have a large segment of society that is ignorant of the arts and the power they have to transform and enlighten, simply because they themselves were never systematically exposed to them, it’s understandable why we are having to fight for funding today.
  • Arts Education and Bullying
    Source: Americans for the Arts
    Students need an outlet for feeling powerful – and if they aren’t getting it in school or in extracurricular activities, it will and does find an outlet – most likely a negative outlet such as bullying.
  • W.Va. schools celebrate arts education
    Source: The Charleston Gazette
    "Why should students learn to paint, dance, act or sing while we are facing increased jobless rates and other fiscal difficulties?" The answer is really two-fold.

 

Quality of Life

Stories

 

Research

 

Opinion

  • How Helpful Is Cultural Diplomacy? Very Helpful!
    Source: The Huffington Post
    Cultural diplomacy is an incredibly powerful tool. It allows for the creative energy of a people and a nation to be shared with audiences and communities worldwide, and if given a chance, can promote genuine goodwill and cross-cultural understanding.

 

Artist Development

Stories

  • Pearl Fryar, accidental artist
    Source: The State
    "If you ever hear a person say, ‘Everything they do is according to the book,’ then that person is never going to get credit for what they do because the person who wrote the book has already gotten credit for that.”
  • ‘It’s work, not welfare’: Artists defend the Arts Board
    Source: The Cap Times
    It’s rewarding, it’s fun and creative. But it’s also work that should be looked at seriously.

 

Community Development

Stories

 

Research

 

Opinion

 

National Recognition

Stories

  • English professor wins Emmy for HIV project
    Source: University of South Carolina
    Dr. Kwame Dawes, distinguished poet-in-residence at the University of South Carolina, won a News & Documentary Emmy Award for his Web-based project, “Hope: Living & Loving with HIV in Jamaica.”
  • Street vendors help SC city win national award
    Source: WPDE NewsChannel 15
    Charleston receives a 2009 livability award from the United States Conference of Mayors on Friday for its Palmetto Artisan Program.
  • Preserving on Canvas a Vanishing Way of Life (Video and Transcript)
    Source: CBS News
    Mary Whyte is the artist of record of a changing world . . . a world she's captured in a style all her own
  • Sweetgrass artist Mary Jackson wins fellowship
    Source: The Post and Courier
    Known for translating utilitarian objects into finely detailed, sculptural forms, she has been showered with honors, among them a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Museum for Women in the Arts (1993) and a MacArthur Fellowship (2008).

 

Public Funding of the Arts

Stories

 

Research

  • South Carolina State Survey - Fall 2009 (PDF)
    Source: University of South Carolina Institute for Public Service and Policy Research
    Findings from a statewide poll show that South Carolinians overwhelmingly support state funding for the arts.

 

Opinion

  • NEA Funding for Kansas?
    Source: Americans for the Arts
    Statement from Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, in response to the Kansas Arts Commission Chairwoman’s wish that the National Endowment for the Arts will continue to provide the new, privately funded Kansas Arts Foundation with matching federal dollars.
  • The difference between dim and dark in S.C. arts
    Source: The Moultrie News
    Examines the economic impact of some of the S.C. Arts Commission's efforts in South Carolina, as well as the intrinsic benefits. "The survival of the Arts Commission shouldn't be just about money. It is also a decision about what sort of place South Carolina is going to be."
  • The Power to Destroy
    Source: Sara Paretsky, Writer
    It is to poets, to musicians, to artists that we turn when we celebrate our joys or need help in enduring our sorrows. "They came to hear me read, they said, because my words gave them courage to face the hard hand life had dealt them."
  • David A. Smith: Texas arts commission cut, but at least it survived
    Source: The Waco Tribune-Herald
    What exactly would things look like if all public funding for the arts were suddenly gone?
  • Open letter to Kansas governor Sam Brownback
    Source: MinnesotaPlaylist
    A Kansas native puts a human face on the creative economy and the impact of policies that devalue its contribution.
  • State of the Arts: Why Culture Matters for Obamanomics
    Source: The Huffington Post
    The role of art as a force for civilization and civility should make it more worthy than ever of public funding for the public good.

 

Additional Resources

  • Research-Based Communication Tool Kit (PDF)
    Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
    Topics include: The Arts and the Creative Workforce; The Arts and Literacy Development; The Arts, Cognition, and Social Development. (Note: created for state arts agencies.)
  • National Endowment for the Arts Research
    Source: National Endowment for the Arts
    A collection of research reports, notes, brochures, and other materials on a variety of related subjects.
  • Americans for the Arts Research
    Source: Americans for the Arts
    A collection of research services, data on various topics, policies, and resources.
  • National Arts Index
    Source: Americans for the Arts
    An annual measure of the health and vitality of arts in the U.S.
  • Cultural Tourism Resources
    Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
    Examples of state arts agency efforts and links to information on many additional cultural tourism initiatives across the nation.
  • Stage Matters: A short video on why / how / if theatre matters in America
    Source: Theatre Communications Group
    Captures artists, theatre leaders, patrons, educators, corporate executives and politicians around the country as they emphatically speak about the value of theatre and challenges we face in an ever-changing environment.