Creative Liberty: The Importance of the Arts [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Creative Liberty: The Importance of the Arts

01-17-2018, 11:02 PM
Creative Liberty: The Importance of The Arts

As a student who prides herself on her artistic achievements, I find it very disregarding how in today’s society, being an artistic, musically talented student is seen not as important as being an academically achieved student, or even an athletic one. How fair is this? Who deems it alright for someone to be seen as less successful simply because they choose one creative field over a medical alternative?
When we were younger, questions would be risen about our future careers. Parents, teachers, even our neighbors saw bright, imaginative children when they asked us, wondering what impact we would have on our world, what future we were going to create. Many of us said doctors, policemen, lawyers: the possibilities were endless in our imaginative minds, flourishing into creative careers, excited for our future lives to come. I was no different. Having such a passion for academics and the fine arts, I was a more well-rounded child who was interested in a lot of careers: one moment I wanted to be a journalist and the next, I wanted to be a musician. I was always excited to share my passions out with adults, especially my family. Growing up in a fine arts family, it was my goal to be just like my talented musician of an older brother, who was a hero in my eyes. It was my goal to be just like my artistic older sister, whose creativity never seemed to end. However, I was disappointed when I was told that I had to find a “real” career, a “real” dream, sadly by some of those same people. To tell a young child, anyone for that matter, that their passion is not good enough and is not important enough to society, is very degrading and hurtful. Why should I not pursue a career I want, a passion I have? Why does your negative opinion matter more than my hopeful one? Momentarily gone was the passion for visual arts and music, education now playing a major role in deciding what I want to be when I grow up. Momentarily gone. I have come to terms with how society views those who pursue the fine arts, going as far as to call them, “struggling artists”. But tell me, are these people really “struggling artists” if they are content with their work, with the passion that drives them to create another show, another song, another story? Society needs to stop connecting the idea that in order to become successful in these fields, you must make a lot of money, or you must become very well-known and popular, completely ignoring artists like Karen Walker, who is an African-American contemporary painter and silhouettist that explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity in her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes which represent the slave times of America, using her art platform to educate on the side of history that we are often not exposed to. Being able to learn about these influential fine artists, not only limited to visual artists, by ones who are trying to make it themselves is something that I will cherish forever; such as the opportunity I had to work with Nona Faustine, an incredible photographer whose work revolves around exposing her city’s slaveholding history, using her voice, her body to raise awareness about the violence against humanity that still is an issue today. There are many talented people who are simply ignored in this world simply because their work isn’t held to the same standard; isn’t seen as ideal. I have come to terms with how society views those who pursue the fine arts, but that does not mean I will stop contributing what I and many others love to do.
This occurs to many children, being told to pursue those prestigious, important careers and to ignore fine arts careers, deeming them less than their counterpart. Much of this comes from the societal belief that the arts are much easier to create than STEM or medical related careers, which is what leads it even further in believing that we just need one and not the other. The issue is, we fail to realize the benefits that studying and being involved in the arts can bring to you. We know this to be true because of the many skills that play into being an arts student, such as higher and improved creativity, memorization, self-esteem, and even math skills. What others fail to recognize is the connection between the arts and academic subjects. It exists as a relationship, as Jack H. David Jr. explained, “If one person were to say that music is a set of mathematical relationships that can be explained with algebraic equations, and another person were to say that music is a gift from God, that mankind will never really totally comprehend, both of those individuals would be absolutely correct”. Taking musical studies as an example, there are many actions that take place when a musician is playing their instrument. Here, Eriko Aiba, an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo, Japan, explains what occurs in a pianist’s mind when playing, “pianists need to read a score, plan the music, search for the keys to be played while planning the motions of their fingers and feet, and control their fingers and feet. They must also adjust the sound intensity and usage of the sustaining pedal according to the output sound." Musicians also have to process this very quickly, using math skills to simplify the rhythms and tempo in musical pieces.
While visual art is more lenient and free compared to structuralized musical playing, academic subjects such as mathematics, science, and history plays into the composition of an art piece. Humans are drawn and painted to perfection by keeping proportions correct using measuring techniques. Artists who document plant life and animals require scientific research in order to achieve a realistic and true representation. Many art teachers, such as Ms. Polin from Cutler Ridge Middle School, take into consideration how art is intertwined with other subjects to improve analytical abilities, “When a history class was studying election campaign sloganeering, she had students to read about the 1860 Presidential race and design campaign posters for it. In math class, she had students make mobiles by dangling cutouts of numbers and geometric shapes, with each side representing a problem or an answer” (Chira). If students are improving and becoming better people because of it, why do we feel the need to make students choose one or the other?
As we know, many schools such as ours have received major budget cuts, affecting the schools as a whole rather than individual departments. However, the issue with budget cuts is that the first programs to leave are from the fine arts departments. The schools are then put into predicaments, having to pick and determine the importance of academics versus the fine arts. Imagine you had to choose between funding math courses and fine art courses: which one should you choose? Anyone would of course choose math because we know the importance of learning math skills. After all, no one will truly suffer if they don’t take art classes but they will if they don’t take math classes, right? We seem to ignore the fact that schools are becoming factories, producing children who are more worried about the repercussions of a C rather than their health or integrity. Test after test, project after project, students are exhausted from the amounts of academic work, desperate to find the answer without caring about the process. The arts, however, deal with the process more than the end result: personal growth is achieved and praised. It’s not just a quick and easy decision though, and the failure to see the benefits of creatively learning the fine arts is what makes people undermine the importance of art education. Simply because one is more commonly needed than the other doesn’t make it immediately not important.
The fine arts exist as a language, an outlet that allows creative minds to express their emotions, find their true voice and influence change. By discouraging people from pursuing careers in the fine arts fields, we don’t allow them to be creative. Many try to criticize it, not taking into account the hard work it takes to create one piece of art, play one musical piece, perform one dance: these often take weeks to perfect, pushing people to think harder and come up with rapid results. What we fail to realize is that we need a balance in our society: imagine a world consisting of all doctors and no art. At first it may seem like an amazing offer, seeing as how we would be ultimately healthier but where would the excitement be? Where would we as a society be without the talented architects who created the building in which you’re in? Without the Van Gogh’s or the Rembrandt's or the Beethoven's? Life would be dull, quiet, boring. Art creates variety in the world, expanding our abilities of becoming original beings and sharing that with the world. As Jeff Goins, author of five books, including “Real Artists Don’t Starve”, beautifully states “When we hold in our minds a certain ideal of what a creative person should look or act like, we put unnecessary obstacles in our path and do a disservice to the magic of creativity.” So I say this to all my creative kids, to those who have many times prioritized academic goals simply because we were told we would never be successful in the arts: allow yourself to express creativity and input your work into the world. Create your art, whether that be eloquent novels or art pieces that inspire others; create. Prove to those who don’t understand that art is not a luxury but a necessity, and a necessity should be pushed to grow, not end.

01-18-2018, 08:26 AM
I love this. It's so true and it's sad.

On another note, writing is an art form as well and though you told a great story, your style could use some work. If you split the large paragraphs in to bite size chunks it would be easier to read. As it is I had a hard time finishing it. Thanks for posting it, I really enjoyed it.