Sarah Lippincott, BFA
K-12 classrooms are often in the center of a debate on trimming the budget through cutting the arts. Should we keep art classes, teachers, and the supplies that tag along with it? Could the funding better serve the students and community through Math, Science, English and other topics of interest?
Here is the thing, art is everything. And while the former perspective is separatist, there is an approach that is inclusive of both sciences and advantageous for everyone by including arts in every class and an arts teacher as a liaison to the core curriculum.
History for as a sample, from cave paintings, architectural wonders, and technological advances, these were all affected by the politics, health, and social injustices of the times. Teaching about the industrial revolution through Diego Rivera’s murals, or Vietnam war with a cyber-tour of the Vietnam Memorial Art Museum.
Chemistry, want to have a chemistry project you can use? How about learning how to make your own paint? Using lapis lazuli for the blue that was used on royalty or char to create black and mixing with the right measurements of oils.
Mathematics, with the oldest known painting dating back to the Lascaux, France radio carbon dated places it to 35,000 years ago, and it was not until the 1400’s for Filippo Brunelleschi to theorize the mathematical equations used today for drawing perspective. Let’s not set back humanity by preventing to teach it, but rather include it as part of mathematic classes taught in school.
Literature, writing is as much an art form as any painting however, this would be a great opportunity to include the study of Typography, illuminated Manuscripts, or book/ editorial illustration, and print making.
And did you know typefaces have copyrights just like paintings? Every typeface has an artist that designed it. The press made reading available to the masses- which required a person to carve each letter into a block. Students could be learning about the various publications including newspapers, books, magazines and into the digital age- their type fonts and layouts.
Biology, Leonardo da Vinci (which means Leonardo of Vinci, Italy) was the very first medical illustrator. He did not have every thing right- but it was a great start. How about touring a Bodies exhibit and figure out – where did he get it right and where did he get it wrong?
In conclusion, maybe funding could better serve Math, Science, and literature but without the arts in every single topic there is a gap in the education of our society. Even when I was a child art was limited to one single elective course and now as adults you can see the lack of appreciation and understanding of art in these generation’s.
Art is not just a painting on the walls of a gallery but the everyday and the everything!