This twelve-minute film explores the stories of artists, educators, parents, administrators, politicians and young people. The film addresses the current state of arts in schools in CA, a brief history of Prop 13, current research on the transformative power of the arts & their vital role as an educational resource, and how community members can become empowered to work for increased access to arts education in their local schools. 

Do Now

Why is studying art in school important to you? If you don’t study the arts in your school, do you think you should have the opportunity to do so? Why?#DoNowArtsEd

How to Do Now 

To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or post your response on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Flickr, Google +, etc. Just be sure to include #DoNowArtsEd in your posts.

Go here for best practices for using Do Now, using Twitter for teaching, and using other digital tools.

Learn More About the Arts and Schools

In recent decades, American schools have been pressured to increase standardized test scores, causing them to make cuts to programs like visual art, music, dance and theater. At the same time, studies have shown that involvement in the arts helps students stay in school, perform better in all academic subjects, and enjoy the school experience more. The arts are often the only subjects in which students can express creative individuality and have a platform for personal expression. In the past 30 years, access to arts education in schools has declined significantly.

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An arts education advocacy group called Arts Ed Matters recently produced a film about why arts should be at the root of every student’s education. Do you agree? Take this opportunity to let the Twittersphere, the Internet, your teachers and arts education policymakers and supporters know how you feel about why studying the arts in school is important.

ARTNational Arts in Education Week happened earlier this month, and we want to keep the conversation going. Why does arts education matter to you? Does it help you understand other subjects better? Does it make school more interesting? Is it therapeutic to have a platform to express yourself?

More Resources

Education Week article Arts Education Cuts: Lack of Funding or Lack of Faith?
Cutting arts education, is often attributed to a lack of funding. Seems to me, though, that it’s a lack of faith. Lack of faith in the inherent value of the arts and its role in children’s overall development.

KQED Arts series Art School
Are you a teacher who needs help integrating the arts into your curricula? Check out our free video series about contemporary visual, performing and media arts.

KPCC article Teachers: LA schools’ arts education budget ‘a step in the wrong direction’
A plan by the Los Angeles Unified School District to cut the time elementary school children are taught orchestra in half is angering teachers – many of whom learned about it only after KPCC reported on the arts budget, which was released unexpectedly at a committee meeting in February.

Alameda County Office of Education resource Art Is Education website
The mission of the Alameda County Office of Education’s Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership is to establish arts learning at the core of the highest quality public education, across the curriculum, for every child, in every school, every day.

Is Studying the Arts in School Important? 8 March,2017Kristin Farr

  • Ronald Myroup

    The arts make students smarter, more tolerant and most importantly the arts make young people better citizens

  • Pingback: Is Studying the Arts in School Important? | Aud...()

  • Kevin DeKryger

    The arts allow students to expand their cultural influences and reflect their individuality. During high school, most students are within Erik Erickson’s Psychosocial Development Stage of Identity vs. Role Confusion, and being able to explore their creative potentials may help them discover themselves.

  • Evan Kornacki

    The arts allow students to do the things that they want to do and expand their horizon. Just like how school’s allow sports, they should also allow the arts. It helps them with communication with others and their social skills too.

  • Dayle

    I know that the arts are very important to me. Having a time to express yourself or act, or dance not only helps me relax, but it teaches me not to give up. Ops I got that line wrong in our play, I will practice it more tonight. My line in this art peice is a little slanted, let me erase it and fix it. However in public school the arts are no part of the “normal” subjects. Standardized testing has made teachers so limited in what they can teach. Schools are so obsorbed in making a years growth that they have no time to think about of it is benefiting the kids. Standardize testing makes are school rigid, it prevents teachers from integrating the arts into there classroom. It makes every child the same. Some kids don’t take tests as well as others, some kids know more than others. Children learn on different ways and in our school system right now we are not addressing that.

  • FreddyJackson

    I’m lucky enough to have had guitar lessons (outside of school) since first grade. I love playing the guitar because it’s time where I can relax and enjoy the skill I am learning. There’s really no pressure put on me by others to be a great guitarist. But since it’s fun, I work for it anyway. Kids who don’t experience working toward something just for themselves will have a harder time getting things done when they have jobs as adults. Both of the schools I’ve gone to have had arts programs and I’ve always apppreciated them, because they are a break from sometimes monotonous schoolwork. I can only imagine what it would be to not have arts during the school day, and I don’t think I could stand it. Days where I don’t have time to play my guitar I notice that I am restless and have difficulty accomplishing all the tasks I need to accomplish.

  • Kittens

    I think that it is important. I know that in my school, we look forward to our arts. They aren’t as strict and hardcore as regular school, so we like that it’s a chill part in our day that we look forward to. It also teaches us how to read music which we might need in our future.

  • 19bshe

    I think that we should keep art education, I myself enjoy drawing, so I really like art. It also helps people increase their creativity and it gives people a better view on how things work.


    I was here and You WERENT

  • Grace

    We need to have arts education. It is a another way to have kids get their creativity. The arts bring out a whole side of someone that they didn’t even know they had before. It could help the, discover themselves or get their feelings out. In singing, dancing, drawing, acting, playing a musical instrument. The arts are a necessary part of education.

    • Aneesa

      Grace, I agree with your statement, arts education is a so important for creativity and for schools in america

  • Aneesa

    I think the arts are very important in schools.mjust like math, they are useful in the everyday world. Studies show that children that play and instrument do better in school. Fine arts give some students a getaway from hectic life also. The arts is what makes schools diverse and strong, and it is a big reason why America will the string country it is today, forever.

  • Parker Chatman

    I think that the arts in school are just important than any other subject in school. Kids and teenagers should learn the arts in school because it is what shaped our country, the world, and history. It keeps kids in school physically active and mentally.

  • wemmie2002

    I think that the arts are very important. Not only do they give students time to relax and be more expresive and creative, but they also help them focus on other subjects and make them easier to understand. It would be unfair to take away the creative expiriences kids need to have. The arts are very special and important and we need them.

  • Sneha

    I think arts are important to be included in a school’s education. Most people question the reason of arts classes– their purpose is to add some creativity practice for kids. It also adds some fun to the school day. Yes, not everyone enjoys fine arts. I know people that hate going to those classes, but they are a break from all the regular classes where you have to sit, read a textbook, get homework etc. I do not think there is a reason to be taking these classes out of school curriculum.

  • @KQEDedspace In my opinion, Arts is very essential in everybody’ s life. School need to offer such a platform to students. Sometimes we think the arts courses are boring, because the teachers do not know how to give a funny lecture and arouse students’ interest. But arts accompanys with a person in his /her life. When we learn some basic method to enjoy music or drawing, we can acquire happiness and enjoy ourselves. Arts teach us how to appreciate our lives. It is much better than other dull subjects. Thus, studying Arts is important. #DoNowArtsEd

  • kyla

    I do think learning about the arts are important in school. It gives us a background about cultures from the past and what made the arts we have today so special and unique.
    Kyla T.

  • David Lundey

    @KQEDdspace I don’t think that music is important to schools. The base subjects are enough as is.#donowstory

  • Lexi B

    I think arts are very important in schools, it is something that every kid needs in school. it helps and gives kids a well rounded side of creativity and fun to learning. I personally think that adding more arts and music type things to school could greatly keep kids attention with fun activities and help them learn whether it may be with catchy songs to remember something for a class or a picture to help kids remember certain meanings to words and or phrases.

  • Kenyeiz

    I think studying art in school is important because. It’s a class most people usually enjoy taking. It allows kids to express themselves and be creative. Art is very important to some people. I think art should be in all school as a offered course.

  • Julia Johnson

    @KQEDEdspace I think arts should be in schools because they let you express yourself, show your creativity, be yourself, and it’s an outlet for kids that need to let their feelings out.

  • Batman

    In my opinion, I think art is what makes us unique, and taking away art is like taking away us , our thoughts, our personality, and our future. For me, without art, I would have never discovered who I really am, and I would never be determined to do something that’s different because its what I fuel myself upon. Art is just more than a to me picture, but its a message, a journal, a foundation, a stage, a inspiration and most of all, its life.

    Akebalan Etzioni

  • KJ

    I think arts should be in school because it’s one of the only ways students can let go off the academic stress and be creative. It’s an outlet for children to be able to express themselves and their emotions so they can be unique.

  • Kate G

    Learning arts is important. When we’re learning these things we are also developing our personalities– Who we are! with out it we would not learn to be creative and the world would be a lot more boring

    • Ezra Quianzon

      I agree. Opening up opportunities like art can help people find themselves and what they’re capable to do.

  • Mary Katherine B

    I do not just think; I know that the arts are a must for schools. I’m well aware that not every student is extremely artsy, but I’m also aware of the fact that there are many teens who would not still be on this earth if it weren’t for the fact that in their school life, somebody gave them the arts and thus an outlet for them to express themselves.

  • Brett

    I think arts should be in school, because a lot of people like art and would rather take art or music at school then go and pay for lessons from someone when they can just go to school and do it without having to pay money unless your art, music, etc. class goes on a field trip or something like that that would help you learn something.

  • Moni Fadamiro

    I think arts should be used school because it lets people show their talent and show their creativity and it can also be relieve from all the other tough classes

  • N Gordon

    Arts should be in schools because it helps students express themselves and it helps students learn to think more creatively.

  • Maya Flournoy

    I think the arts are very important to have in schools. They help kids to actually become comfortable with themselves and to have fun. I think that school can be very stressful for some students and by taking a break and doing something that they can enjoy, can increase students’ opinions against school.

  • Tia

    The arts is important to our schools because it keeps us engaged and plus it takes our stress away from the hard classes, but they should be able to have time to make the classes intergrated into their schedules if they want to have it.

  • dan.b

    There should be some arts in California schools but proposition 13 is very important also its contributes to Californian prosperity. But you must remember the arts have been historically for the rich.

  • Andy Ouyang

    I think everyone should have the opportunity to take arts in school because it gives students a way to relieve stress and do something they enjoy. Like art wouldn’t be necessary but it would be nice to know that we have an option to take it.

  • draco zhao

    Studying art is important in school because I feel that it is where your creativity is most necessary. Art allows you to express yourself and can help you relieve stress. I think all schools should have the opportunity to study art at schools because it could be a period used to relax and relieve some stress in between other classes.

  • Erica Liang

    I believe that the opportunity to learn about art and culture should be available in schools, however I don’t think that it should be a mandate for students. In my high school, it is required for students to take at least one year of visual arts, but a lot of students struggle in many of the classes. I think they should have a choice of whether or not they want to take art or creativity classes.

  • May N.

    I don’t think studying art is that important in school because it’s not going to be necessary in the real world. Art does allow you to express yourself and let your creativity flow, but not everyone cares about that. Some people may not be good at it and not want to take a class or care about improving because it’s not going to benefit them in any way when they get a career, unless they want to do something related to art. If there are artistic or musically inclined people who are interested in taking a class, then I think they should still have optional programs.

  • Darren H.

    Studying art is important in school just because it can help students destress so much. Art class for me is a time when I can destress and enjoy myself. It lets me put previous classes behind me and focus on something else. Arts in schools is also what helped cultivate my love for art in several forms. I think it is nice that there is art classes in school especially since some of these teachers teach with an enthusiasm and passion that others don’t have.

    • May N.

      I respect that for some people an art class can help students destress, but for others it’s the opposite. Me and a few of my friends can agree, we aren’t as artistically inclined as the other students and it’s stressful to try to live up to the expectations that they’ve set for everyone else.

  • Preston Chu

    I think art in school can help destress some people and give them a different experience in school compared to the regular listening to lectures type of classes. It could take a change out of your routine day so that you don’t get too tired of everything. I don’t really study the arts in school but I think people should have the opportunity to do so because they might be more interested in those types of things.

    • Ada Ouyang

      I agree with you because I also believe that people should get the chance to learn about arts to expand their knowledge and interests, which can benefit them with creativity and the release of stress.

  • Ezra Quianzon

    I think studying art is important in school because it allows people to be creative and express their feelings. Not many subjects allow you to do that. There are also people out there who have careers in the arts. Maybe students want to pursue a career in the arts as well. Having an art class can help them do that. I don’t think art classes should be like a graduation requirement, though.

    • Preston Chu

      People should have more options in their career choices or just to explore and be curious. Some people might also learn better through artistic methods instead of the traditionally technical ways of teaching. I also don’t believe art should be a graduation requirement, but it should definitely not be taken away.

  • Ada Ouyang

    Studying art in school is important to me because it helps me to think creatively, enjoy going to school, express myself, help me to be more focused, and help with my memorization skills (especially music class). Most importantly, because I enjoy taking art classes, I get the chance to reduce the stresses that I receive from other classes and my everyday life. Taking art class actually makes me happy and makes me feel bright and think positively. I think people who don’t study arts should have the opportunity to do so because taking art classes really help with a person’s performance in both school and their social life.

  • Nicole Sievert

    Inspire students to follow a career in the arts with our #DayintheLife of Cartoonist, Keith Knight

  • Rubi

    I think studying the Arts in school is very important. Some people major in these types of stuff and make a living out of it, like they do in the video Making Ceramic Sculptures with Brendan Monroe. In the video shown on this article, they tell us that students are more likely to drop out if they do not have any Arts Instruction. Although, the more Art Instruction they have, the less percentage of students dropout.


Kristin Farr

Kristin Farr is KQED's Arts Education Manager. She is the creator and producer of the Emmy Award-winning video series, Art School, which brings audiences into artists' studios to learn about contemporary art, and engages learners with ideas for new ways to get creative. She is also an artist and a contributing editor for Juxtapoz Magazine.

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