Benefits of Arts in Education // Erie Arts & Culture

“The more my daughter worked with the artists, the more I saw her open up
and accept something new. She got to experience diversity and think about life in a bigger way.”

Parent of a student engaged in an Erie Arts & Culture Artist Residency

Arts education increases engagement in learning for all students.

PNC Grow Up Great - Artis in Education - Erie Arts & Culture

Early childhood learning through dance, music, performance and visual arts develops fine motor skills, assists in building early literacy concepts and teaches important behaviors which prepare students for success in Kindergarten. In K-12 education, research shows that students receiving a quality arts education have higher attendance, higher test scores and increased participation in pro-school activities.

The Arts Education Partnership reports that students from low socio-economic backgrounds, English language learners, and students with special needs—often underserved in public schools—show the greatest relative improvement in academic achievement when participating in the arts. 

But the arts don’t stop there. They serve as critical tools for engagement in learning throughout our lifespan. Research with older adults finds connections between theatrical work and reduced cognitive decline associated with aging (Noice & Noice, 2006). Working to memorize and act out lines from a script helped study participants with problem solving and word recall. Adult participants in an arts-based executive leadership program used creative capacities developed through the arts to navigate and manage problems (Katz-Buinincontro, 2005). The arts are important tools in life-long learning.

Quality arts education prepares us to compete in the global economy.

Arts education helps students build “soft skills” needed for success in school, work and their communities. Referred to as “21st Century Skills,” these include creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.  Art processes provide opportunities for students to take risks, experience success and failure, problem solve and understand themselves as creative beings. Businesses are crying out for employees with these valuable skills.

According to the Arts in Education Partnership’s 2013 report entitled Preparing Students for the Next America, The Benefits of an Arts Education, “Creativity is among the top ranking of “in demand” qualities. 65% of Americans believe that creativity is central to the U.S.'s role as a global leader. 97% of business leaders agreed that creativity is of increasing importance in the workplace. However, 85% of employers seeking creative candidates had trouble finding qualified applicants.” Creativity is an essential precursor to innovation and by ensuring a high quality arts education for all students we’re better preparing our communities for an ever-changing economy.

Arts education strengthens our sense of self and our connection to one another.

Research finds connections between community-based adult arts education and greater understanding of others, tolerance, and openness to collaboration. One study finds that community members reported that they changed their perspectives and re-evaluated stereotypes because of a community mural project that engaged them in exploration of social issues relevant to the neighborhood (Kang Song & Gammel, 2011).

Arts education also shapes our consumption of arts activities as adults - communities that invest in quality arts in education often feel the ripple effect of participation in their community-based arts programs and cultural institutions. Quality arts education is a critical investment in learning across the lifespan and reflection of a healthy, engaged community. Get Involved Today! 

Arts Education Research

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The mission of Erie Arts & Culture is to strengthen the vibrancy and vitality of the Erie Region and enrich the lives of our people through the advancement of arts and culture.
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