Most individuals would agree that engaging with art is a vital aspect of the human experience in all phases of life. Children utilize creative expression to communicate nearly as soon as their motor skills are established, teenagers use it to discover who they are, and adults use it to address issues in the real world. The arts inspire us to explore different points of view, to sympathize with “others,” and to ponder the human condition at all ages. The arts have long-term advantages, such as increased civic involvement, social tolerance, and a decrease in “other-regarding conduct.” All of these characteristics contribute to our civil society’s overall health.’
Despite these well-documented advantages, the role of the arts in K-12 education in the United States has become more unclear. Why? As schools are held accountable based on standardized tests, they are under pressure to focus on tested subjects. This has had a disproportionately detrimental impact on children from historically underserved communities’ access to the arts, as they are more likely to have less time spent on arts education.
According to studies by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, increasing arts programs in these schools resulted in a 3.6 percent drop in disciplinary violations and a 13 percent improvement in standardized writing results! Students with greater art education experience are also more concerned with how other people feel and more likely to desire to help those who have been treated unfairly. These are all important traits to nurture in the next generations. Enhanced arts instruction also had a beneficial impact on students’ school engagement, college ambitions, and willingness to empathize with others through art. Students were more likely to like school, think more creatively, and stay engaged in class. While many studies look at the influence of the arts on various topics, we feel that these motivations are just as significant in the classroom.
It is a goal here at WestHeir to create a platform that gets the word out about art education and to provide resources to help facilitate art education for students. After all, we cannot fix a problem that we don’t know anything about! Supporting art education in this way is an incredibly important aspect of our mission to Leave a Legacy of Art because it helps parents and educators to build solid foundations for the next generation.
While the development of our programs is still underway, we have committed to donating 10% of our profit from all fine art print sales to the National Art Education Foundation. Each sale supports the National Art Education Foundation in providing professional development for art educators, classroom supplies for innovative projects, curriculum development for art classrooms, and ground-breaking research in visual arts education. That’s right! You are doing your part in supporting art education and leaving a legacy of art by purchasing your fine art collection through WestHeir!