Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's hanging on your refrigerator?

I've been sick for the last couple of days.
But, you know, being sick is not always a bad thing.

Aside from the fever and the coughing, and the soreness due to having a fever and coughing, being sick is a great time to give one's body some (usually very necessary) rest, and it also happens to be a great excuse to hang out in one's fleecy rabbit pants for a couple of days snuggling one's bunny and kittens and watching movies.

Miss Zoe giving those fleecy rabbit pants
(and pink, glitter poodle socks) a run for their money.

Today, I feel a bit better and thought I'd try a little reading. And I came across this at Dirty Footprints:

There's talk that the state department of education might cut the Arts program all together state-wide. To me, if that happens, forget for a second that I'll be out of a job--it's like a huge black cloud just blanketed over this state. Can you imagine--a state with no Arts in the schools? I know I'm biased, but doesn't it break your heart---that hundreds of thousands of children will not be making things, creating things, bringing home pictures for the frig? Doesn't this really bother anyone---that this HUGE part of a child's development will just fade into air?

She had a few comments, including one from Carla, citing some positive things happening from the White House.

But you know, aside from the obvious no art of the refrigerator problem (which really is a huge problem), there is so much more to it.

Blisschick and I have been discussing this issue pretty much non-stop lately. Well, not this exact issue, but a by-product.

"Where are we without art?" asks Miss Lilly.
Good question.

A good historian or social anthropologist would most likely tell us that lack of support for the arts, lack of interest in the arts, is the sign of a civilization in decline.

Well, that can't be good.

Moreover, one of the greatest lessons art of any kind-- be it painting, drawing, photography, dance, theater, writing, higher math and physics, even-- is learning about perspective. Your relation to other.

In essence, learning an art teaches you to think critically and to act accordingly. It teaches you how to make good decisions. Or better decisions. Art is able to teach your brain these skills through osmosis in a way that literally cannot be taught.

It also teaches you to tap into the divine.

This isn't a new problem. It's been around for my whole lifetime. My mom and dad taught elementary school and junior high school respectively for 30+ years. As I was growing up, this issue was the topic of about a million dinner table discussions.

Cutting out the arts is always seen as a solution. But it would actually be our biggest mistake.


Emma said...

Yeah, it's a really bad idea, but not a new one, as you said. Many, many schools I know of have had little or no art or music for a long time. Terrible.

Anonymous said...

I've actually been thinking along similar lines lately, courtesy of hanging out with my almost 2 year old niece.

Kids respond to colour, song and movement at that age, much better than they do the ordinary spoken word.

My niece has the most amazing sense of rythym. Its an absolute treat to watch her get her groove on. Her shoulders shimmy way better than many women I taught (when I used to teach belly dancing). Then come the hips and wow, what a mover she is!

Then I watch her respond to the Wiggles - who combine both song and colour, and like many other kids she loves, loves, loves them!

Of course, art is a huge part of tribal cultures. Its a form of expression from deep within and I was thinking how sad it is, that as we grow up in our modern culture... art takes a back seat.

Well, it should never take a back seat! :)

Connie said...

Thank you for writing this Marcy. Thank you.

Peace & Love.

Jennifer Hugon said...

Amen to that! Of course, I am biased too, but this has always been a point of contention for me. Our country has always devalued the arts and culture from the top down. I have a hard time understanding that. At best it's seen as entertainment and not the integral part of human nature that it is!