Education without art is like a sky without sunshine, a car without wheels, a vampire without fangs…

You get the idea. You may be able to survive, but you’ll surely be miserable.

Art makes the world go round/Ryn Gargulinski

Art makes the world go round/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Yet with all the public school funding woes, art programs are usually the first to go.

Sure, some steps are being taken. Organizations like Opening Minds through the Arts Foundation (OMA), mentioned by Artistic Tucson blogger Charles Spillar, works to keep all forms of art in the schools and use it to enhance learning in other areas.

But are programs like that enough?

You can always buy a kazoo and a can of paste to provide your own art lessons for your kids. Or you can get your kids the heck out of there.

Independent schools may be an option. Read more about the newly formed Tucson Association of Independent Schools (TAIS) in a news release that mentions “educating the whole child,” “vibrant art programs” and, perhaps most importantly, “financial aid.”

Representatives from each school will be on hand at this weekend’s Tucson Festival of Books on the University of Arizona campus.

Art needs to be fostered and encouraged at an early age. Education must include art. Kids can’t be well-rounded when all they get are spelling tests where they are not even required to spell the words properly and a strange new way to do math.

Art also provides kids with a healthy outlet for pent up energy. They can release their violence, disruption and angst on a canvas instead of on the kid with the pop bottle lens glasses. Artistic expression should not be limited to graffiti and weird patterns created on the wall with spit wads.

Artistic expression is a necessity/Ryn Gargulinski

Artistic expression is a necessity/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Aside from one of my early teachers that told my mom, “Your kid will never be a writer,” some of my fondest school moments involve art:

* Collection of illustrated poems I created way back in elementary school – and still have today. Even then my drawings and poetry were warped. But they were also wholly encouraged.

* The collage of a bright pink monster I made using ripped up strips of construction paper. Think it had polka dots and a deep purple background. I was in love.

* My Garfield the cat piñata – OK, that one was more like a gigantic nightmare because I made it way too big and then got sick of sticking on little pieces of tissue paper with a pencil and cried until mom helped me.

* The portrait of Loni Anderson I sketched on my first round using charcoal. That one sticks in my head because the shop teacher, whom we’ll call Mr. R, was filling in for the art teacher and Mr. R. helped me sketch it so the portrait ended up with massive cleavage that shocked the heck out of my parents.

See how fun art can be?

Including art in education may not be the answer to all of society’s woes – but it sure would be dandy if it were.


Ceramic spaghetti and meatball project/submitted by AZMouse

Ceramic spaghetti and meatball project/submitted by AZMouse


What do you think?

Is art essential to education?

Would you consider an independent school for your children?

What are your fondest early art memories?

Was art encouraged or ignored in your own education?

Do you reckon yourself an artist?