So many good podcasts compete for our time today…. how do you choose which ones to listen to? Well, occasionally a title just grabs my attention and won’t let go. This is one of those podcasts!
With a headline that reads “Let’s Get Rid of Art Education”, I couldn’t help but take notice. Podcaster Danny Gregory has been a life-long advocate for the arts with his books, blog, “Art for All” podcast, and as co-founder of “Sketchbook Skool”…. so I knew something was up. I couldn’t imagine he really meant that schools should no longer offer art education, yet I suspected this was more than just satire. I was curious so I gave it a listen to find out.
Spoiler alert – If you’re a creative person who cares about the future of education, this 30 minute episode will either inspire you or infuriate you. If you listen with an open mind, I think you’ll see a lot of value in the question Danny Gregory is posing. It’s originally from an essay he wrote on his blog a couple of years back, which generated a range of praise and criticism.
To set the stage, I think most everyone can agree that as Math and Science take priority in our schools, Art is becoming less valued and respected – as evidenced by all the funding cuts and canceled programs. Sadly, Art is often seen as a luxury, or worse yet, busywork.
In Gregory’s words, “If narrow minded people have a problem with Art and insist on slashing budgets, then let’s not call it that. Let’s take the ‘Art’ out of Art Education.”
So here’s the question he poses: “Should schools make creativity a focused part of the core curriculum? Not just an elective or an after school club, but a central part of what every child is expected to learn. Should creativity be considered an essential skill, rather than a God-given talent or the domain of a fringe group of hipsters and artists?”
What Gregory is proposing here is that we stop being defensive about our under-appreciated art ed programs and instead put our energy into replacing these abandoned programs with training in creativity. If we could teach the essentials of the creative process as part of our core curriculum, we could give all kids the skills and tools they need to become “idea people” and creative problem solvers.
Here’s the point not to miss…. ALL students need to be able to think creatively no matter what career they choose. They need to collaborate, to generate ideas and find creative solutions…. and then communicate and present those ideas clearly. They need to learn the skills of entrepreneurship and resourcefulness. They need to adapt quickly to change and to learn that it’s okay (and even good) to make mistakes. They need to be able to think creatively if they’re going to become the kind of problem solvers our world desperately needs.
I don’t believe Gregory wrote this to argue for removing traditional Art classes from schools, but rather to advance the cause of creativity. We live in a world now where the learning never stops and it takes a good measure of creativity to put all this learning to its best possible use.
“Education doesn’t end with a cap and gown. It’s a life-long pursuit for anyone with an interest in surviving.” ~ Danny Gregory
Just think of how much further all that Math and Science training will take us if we can also learn to think creatively!
Do you believe Creativity should be part of the core curriculum? Listen to Danny Gregory’s podcast for inspiration and lots of creativity-advocacy!