What the Arts Do

Children - Arts Programs

What Happens When Kids Have the Arts

Studies demonstrate that participating in arts programs can help children read and write better, be more focused in class, raise test scores, develop higher self-esteem, and solve problems more creatively.

  • Continuing a trend noted in studies in 1998 and 1999, students of the arts, in all categories and disciplines, outperformed their non-arts peers on the SAT in 2000. (The College Board 2000 College-Bound Seniors: A Profile of SAT Program Test-Takers, 2001)
  • Arts programs can help high risk children get better grades and have a better attitude about learning. In just one year in the "Different Ways of Knowing" program, high-risk elementary students gained 8 percentile points on standardized language arts tests.
  • Arts programs can accelerate a student's progress in reading. In the New York City "Learning to Read Through the Arts" program, students improved an average of one to two months in reading skills for every month they participated.
  • Creativity and critical thinking skills are developed through the arts. The National Center for Gifted and Talented (University of Connecticut) found that students involved in the arts were more motivated to learn than those not involved in the arts. They also exhibited more imaginative, flexible, and critical thinking skills.
  • Arts programs are the best developer of creativity – a vital skill for problem solving and innovative thinking. After participating in an arts curriculum for one year, children in two Ohio school districts tested four times higher in creativity than children who were not enrolled in the program. It is believed that creative thinking skills learned early in a child‚s development will last a lifetime.

The arts inspire children to:

  • develop concentration skills
  • improve high-level communication and interpersonal skills
  • think creatively
  • work flexibly across disciplinary boundaries
  • understand the multicultural dimensions of our world
  • discover the joy of learning

Why It's Essential for Business to Care

“After a long business career, I have become increasingly concerned that the basic problem gripping the American workplace is not interest rates or inflation; those come and go with the business cycle. More deeply rooted is the crisis of creativity. Ideas are what built American business and it is the arts that build ideas and nurture a place in the mind for them to grow. Arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the twenty-first century.”  

–Richard Gurin, President and CEO, Binney & Smith, Inc.

“Today's students need arts education now more than ever. Yes, they need the basics. But today there are two sets of basics. The first - reading, writing, and math - is simply a prerequisite for a second, more complex, equally vital collection of higher-level skills required to function in today‚s world. These basics include the ability to allocate resources; to work successfully with others; to find, analyze and communicate information; to operate increasingly complex systems of seemingly unrelated parts; and finally, to use technology. The arts provide an unparalleled opportunity to teach these higher-level basics that are increasingly critical, not only to tomorrow‚s work force, but also today's.”      

–Paul W. Chellgren, President and CEO, Ashland Inc.

"Those at home with the nuances and ambiguities of art forms are far more likely to persist in the quest to resolve ambiguity in the practical world.”

–William F. Kieschnick, Former ARCO President and CEO.

Arts related industries are key to the vitality of California‚s economy and a significant source of future employment in the 21st century. There will be approximately $314 billion in jobs available in the nonprofit and commercial arts in the United States alone - jobs our children may be unqualified for if the arts are not an integral component of the school curriculum!