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Segyo Oh

ARTE 316
28 November 2016
Art Advocacy
Educators constantly look for new ways to improve the education of students and visual
arts can be a strong advantage. Multiple independent studies have shown increased years of
enrollment in arts courses are positively correlated with higher SAT verbal and math scores
(Critical Evidence p. 9). Studies like this can prove that arts help close gaps, where students
are left behind their classmates who move on to the next grade level. When students could not
reach a test score they needed, with the arts, students performed better on their academic tests.
However, how do we get students to be interested in learning? Arts can improve
motivation in students (Edutopia). The students who are at risk of completing high school have
stayed in school, because of the arts. The reason is that the arts provide a safe environment
where students can take risks and it promotes constructive criticism (Critical Evidence) An
ethnographic study of seventh grade boys in special education revealed use of the visual arts
helped them become more sophisticated, less reluctant readers (Critical Evidence, 14). After
using visual arts as a form of expression in their comprehension, there was active reading and
more engagement (Critical Evidence). With this kind of concentration, students are more likely
to be motivated and stay on task (Studio Thinking 2, p. 6). When students are criticized in a
constructive manner, in the arts classroom, confidence is raised. Students can express
themselves in many ways as art does not have a single answer. These examples show how art
can close the gaps between achievement gaps for students. There are many opportunities for
students to do well in the real world through art. 1.25million Americans currently work in the
visual arts. Jobs for artists and designers are predicted to increase by 43% by 2016 (NAEA).
After going through an arts program, students can present their higher test scores or grade level
achievements that jobs require.
Besides gaining practical goals, gaining multiple perspectives of culture and an
understanding of ones own culture is a human attribute (Edutopia). From an anthological stand
point, culture is a way of living (Freedman 39). Through art this can come together in a

significant number of ways. First, art makes us aware of our existence to becoming human
beings. Creating works of art makes us understand deeper forms of beauty. The process slows
down our thinking, and we contemplate and see things that we did not see before. Understanding
why we exist as people leads to how we can work together as humans and it improves teamwork.
Secondly, art teaches students to form mental images to help them solve problems. When
envisioning an art idea, students form mental images and this can translate over to other subjects.
Art also teaches students to make good judgments in a qualitative manner. In art, there
are multiple answers unlike subjects like math where there is one answer. So, this leads to
students being able think of different perspectives. Creativity studies have found that
individuals with more sophisticated problem-contribution abilities produce more creative
solutions (Walker,52). Trying to gain perspective from other cultures involves communication,
and through art, students can say things that cannot be said either by lack of words or language
barriers. In a classroom of English language learners, they can still express, despite the lack of
verbal communication. And through this non-verbal communication, students can empathize and
understand those who are marginalized, whether it be the class bully or the quiet student who
gets good grades but doesn't participate. It also becomes a means for the teacher to access a
different part of the student.
Art is a form of expression that is therapeutic. Because there is no perfect set of ways to
express oneself, there is freedom in the process. It is almost a dialogue with oneself. This is so
freeing for myself, since it is difficult to share my own life story of living abroad in one nice
paragraph. Students may find that art can be a place for them to shout out something they were
hiding, or quietly hide a statement while releasing it from their system. With the combination of
benefits mentioned previously, art leads to a space where we can just be human.


Kerry Freedman (2003) The Importance of Student Artistic Production to Teaching Visual
Culture, Art Education, 56:2, 38-43
Ruppert, Sandra S. Critical Evidence: How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement. N.p.:
National Assembly of State Art Agencies, 2006. Print.
Smith, Fran. "Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who's Doing It Best." RSS. Edutopia, 28 Jan.
2009. Web. 05 Nov. 2016.
Hetland, Lois. Studio Thinking 2: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education. New York:
Teachers College, 2013. Print.
"The Visual Arts." The Visual Arts. NAEA. Web. 5 Nov. 2016.
Walker, Sydney R. Teaching Meaning in Artmaking. Worcester, MA: Davis Publications, 2001.