With funding for art programs in public schools being cut throughout the country, the government sends the message that art is not important. However, artists will tell you and studies will confirm the absolute necessity of art in our children's lives. The Guggenheim Museum took part in a program that sent artists to schools.
"The study found that students in the program performed better in six categories of literacy and critical thinking skills – including thorough description, hypothesizing and reasoning – than did students who were not in the program" (The New York Times). The Guggenheim admits that they do not know exactly how art helps literacy skills but, "the hypothesis is that the use of both talking about art and using inquiry to help students tease apart the meaning of paintings helps them learn how to tease apart the meanings of texts, too. They apply those skills to reading" (Johanna Jones).
Art helps children to "think outside the box" and instead of an inarguable set of rules, art encourages imagination and experimentation. Everything is a choice, from what media to use to how to use it. Should this line be thick or thin; should I use green or blue?
In a ten-year national study by Shirley Brice Heath of Stanford University, it was discovered that young people who are involved in highly effective non-school arts-based community programs in under-resourced communities, in comparison with a national sample of students were: