Art and Education Art can be a powerful way to convey a message, to enhance learning processes and to promote social

development. Artistic methods can communicate ideas in a different, more engaging way, than generic methods. Art can educate a community about an issue, promoting social development by dismantling stereotypes and promoting informed dialogue. Pittsburgh artists Jon Rubin, and Dawn Weleski created a unique way to educate their community about international politics. They created Conflict Kitchen, a take-out restaurant that only serves food from countries the US is in conflict with. The country rotates every four months, changing food and storefront design. This unique combination of culinary and visual art strives to overcome the negative, stereotypical images many Americans have of these countries by teaching a more holistic picture. The art continues outside the restaurant. ³Each Conflict Kitchen iteration´ the website states, ³is augmented by events, performances, and discussion about the culture, politics, and issues at stake with each country we focus on´ (Conflict Kitchen 1). Conflict Kitchen demonstrates the unique ability of art to engage the larger community with issues they would normally ignore. By transferring cultural information through food, performance and provocative art, Conflict Kitchen educates its patrons in a way that feels little like traditional schooling. Art has a strong place within established educational institutions. There are many strong reasons to support arts in education; the statistics speak for themselves. All types of art enhance different aspects of learning and can drastically improve the ability of students to comprehend and retain information. Studies across the board have found strong evidence linking art to improvement in test scores, dropout rates and even the motivation of students to learn. Participation in an arts program makes at-risk students more likely to stay in school. Students involved with orchestra tend to perform better in math. Visual artists tend to be more observant

math and reading comprehension. the arts departments are often the first ones to feel the impact. This is not to say that arts education is not important on all class levels. is the gap between the belief in the importance of art and the actual art programs in schools.and demonstrate more attention to detail. perhaps. but it is important to note that social class is an interesting component when discussing art in education. many schools pay little attention to the arts. as the benefits from arts education. the arts as a whole are somewhat incompatible with standardized testing. The issue. then. it should be a part of every educational program. Yet the actual empirical impacts of the bill differ. improving their scores in the sciences. Though the benefits from arts education remain consistent in every social class. But the lack of arts funding and interest in lowincome schools is problematic precisely because such students stand to benefit the most from such a program. For example. puts the arts on equal level with more traditional academic subjects. In fact. This is. There are many reasons for this. especially as many people view the arts as a luxury for the elite. because of the methods that No Child Left Behind uses for evaluating school performance. The benefits are numerous and tend to be understood. When funding is tight. When survived. motivation and dropout rates could have a more profound impact on low-income schools than the higher-income ones. it would be impossible to evaluate a student¶s performance in theater with a . which range from funding issues to parent involvement. when actually allocating funding. The bill requires that schools meet certain levels on standardized tests in order to receive federal funding. Though No Child Left Behind recognizes that arts are important. they do not have a section on arts intelligence. most community members indicate that they believe arts education is important. richer communities are more likely to have arts funding. This is an interesting issue. Such tests focus on history. a federal bill promoting educational quality. the No Child Left Behind Act. especially in terms of test scores.

including money for an art program. however. Rather. this program fosters social awareness and global relationships between children who often do not speak the same language. Class ACT. provides full funding for the school. The children then exchange their art work. seems limited to the United States. Though the arts demonstrate a strong ability to improve the test scores in other areas. Schools in developing nations rarely have funding for books and paper. transposes such cultural barriers. the arts get cut and teachers begin to structure their curriculum around subjects they know students will be tested on. Believing in the importance of arts education. Such teachers might have a strong passion for arts in education. attempts to promote art education in the United States and developing countries with a unique approach to the problem. this link does not seem relevant or direct enough to make struggling schools evaluate the presence or lack of art programs. Class ACT is able to connect children across the globe through their sponsorship of arts. when students perform badly on tests. much less art supplies. Class ACT creates partnerships between local schools and schools in developing nations. So though the public seems to strongly believe that art in education is an important component of a comprehensive learning system. Not only does this provide many of the demonstrated education benefits of visual art to both schools. the partnership between the two schools ³grow with art as the common language´ (Class Act 1). Their ability to draw and create expressions of their lives.series of multiple choice questions. Class ACT. after creating the initial match. Though this issue. there transformative power of art stretches across cultures. an American nonprofit organization. especially presented under such analysis. but their methods of evaluation do not permit them to act upon such. there is a large gap between the belief and the reality. according to the organization¶s website. .

Rather. it expanded to cover . though disciplinary action is very common in the school. the Art Jump Off! program has virtually no problems with student misbehavior.Art Jump Off! is an after-school program in a low-income middle school in Boston. The program is not very replicable. the program focused on choice. a process that program founders believe contributes to the emotional and mental health of their middle school participants. most of the staff came from a very different background than the students. they were primarily Caucasian and most had been educated in schools in better areas. looking to address sexual health through theater. Thus. there is no set standard of what type of art the student needs to be producing. In 2006. allowing all participants to be supported through every step of their creative process. the choice is theirs²the program serves to provide space and guidance to the students along the way. a staff-. However. Interestingly. Massachusetts. the school is unique in that it focuses on providing comprehensive education. Though the project initially focused on HIV. Providing students structure and freedom allows them to make their own decisions and discover their own voices. such as funding and transportation. Utilizing Arts Education majors at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The About Face Youth Theater designed a community art project to provide youth with the information they need about sex. they began a new project. The program received three years of funding from a local founder and aims to provide programming to help students who normally would have no experience with the arts a chance to become involved. the program maintains a low student-teacher ratio. The school is made up of primarily minority students.mainly comprised of social workers--facilitate a number of after-school programs as a primary job and can thus create solutions to many typical problems in low-income communities. But the success of this program in engaging the youth to create their own art projects speaks volumes about the ability of art to impact lives.

The audience was invited to attend sex education workshops and discuss their feelings about the play¶s content. explained proper contraceptive techniques in the context of an entertaining story. In order to achieve the maximum impact. the About Face Theater both educated and entertained its audience. By discussing sexual health through an artistic framework. Project coordinator Paula Gilovich describes the success of the project. 100 percent of the participants reported that they knew how to protect themselves now. The performance did not just provide information. however. The resulting play. the discussion continued after the performance. called Condom Sense. ³In a post-show survey. The Youth Theater took the opportunity to critique current national policies toward comprehensive sex education. . breaking the silence and fear surrounding HIV.the whole nature of sexual health and create a play based on LGBTQ youth experiences with the issue. and a 100 percent of the participants felt like they no longer were afraid to talk or learn about HIV or AIDS´ (Gilovich 5). hoping to inspire their audience to get involved with the issue. attempting to share their story with the broader community.

Web. 3"Class ACT . 9 Jan.d. 2011.What We Do." Class ACT. Web. 2011.p. N.php>>.. Paula.archiveit. 2011. 4 Oct. Class ACT." Conflict Kitchen. . "Conflict Kitchen Blog. 2011. 09/12/condom_sense_a. n. Archive <http://www. 3 Dec. Gilovich.conflictkitchen. " Condom Sense: A Real Life Education with About Face Youth Theatre." Community Arts Network.html>. <http://www. n. <http://wayback.

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