In schools everywhere, it seems like the arts are not often “drawn” upon. Indeed, schools from Minnesota, Vermont, and Michigan, have art requirements that only require one art credit to graduate, the same as Windsor High.
Windsor High school students are only required to take art classes equivalent to a single credit in order to graduate. In the increasingly visual world of the 21st century, will this be the best choice for students as they venture forth on their own?
Art has been a part of our world for thousands of years. And even if the way it is made has changed, its relevance in society has only increased. But as an academic requisite, is on art credit enough? Dr. Brian Kisida, an Assistant Professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, wrote “…a substantial increase in arts educational experiences has remarkable impacts on students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes.”
“There should be art and music somewhere in the student’s lives, throughout each year,” said Rebecca Wales-Szyluk, photography and digital arts teacher at Windsor High School. With movies, video games, and other visual technological advances, art, more specifically digital art, is becoming more a part of our lives.
“Graphics rolls over into any career you have,” Wales added. “You have layout and compositional strategies and can lay out typography and color schemes for any career you have; you might have to do a presentation for any career, business, medicine, sales.”
Finally, Ms. Wales notes that “It’s good to have that background of knowing what makes a good layout and composition, for having a 20th century job in a sense.”
However, Ms. Rebecca Arsenault, a Resource Study teacher at Windsor High School, feels that “Forcing students to take more art classes will be ineffective.” She added, “We have students that are interested in sports medicine and culinary arts. If they increase the art requirements they would have to increase the department electives.”
But even if she thinks that increasing the art credits requirement would be problematic, she says that “Taking an art class definitely benefits students. Students are able to express themselves.”
Being able to choose what you wish to do is an important aspect of the high school experience. But will that choice include more art in the future?
As we move further into the 21st century, will the importance of art affect the required curriculum of high school and other branches of education? Or will art be incorporated into the other subjects more often? Whatever the course that follows us, I’m sure that the people will draw a way for themselves.