Our schools should be a reflection of the community they serve. Missoula amongst other things is a vibrant artists community. I feel so strongly about arts in our schools because they are what kept me in school. I was fortunate to attend an arts immersive public school in Milwaukee. I struggled to find interest in the majority of my academic subjects. I was a trouble maker and a class clown; the vice principal was my first long term relationship. Drama class, art class and walking to the gym on the 4th floor for dance class – those were my sparks! That’s where I shined.
Every child deserves to have something they are excited to go to school for. Every child has gifts and talents to share with their classmates and community, because every child is great at something. Creating a well rounded learning environment increases the likelihood more kids find their spark and get the chance to shine. The arts also have some other amazing powers every child can benefit from. An alternative to words, each art form offers its own language of expression. Artists are creative and critical thinkers, questioners, innovators and leaders – not followers. The arts are common ground bridges across all cultures, classes and belief systems, they push us to reimagine what’s normal or status quo. The arts are so important because they celebrate standing out rather than fitting in.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Becca Nasgovitz is a SPARK! Arts Ignite Learning board member.