Arts programs are being limited or eliminated in many public colleges because of the reduction in state funding.
While Pierce College slightly has scaled back on its art classes, other institutes have had a different fate.
Colleges are cutting programs in music, drama and visual arts as a way to create better ranking because students are not given a class rank in many art departments. Despite the effect art programs have on rankings, they are still a relevant focus for student to take.
For former Pierce College Puyallup art professor and printmaker Ann Schuster, art was the greatest gift she could give to her students.
Schuster hoped students felt like they were on a journey to creating a masterpiece every single class, a journey she willingly accompanied them on.
She described art as being soothing, and a meditative experience that became an addiction.
Despite her love of teaching and of art, Schuster didn’t reprise her position at the college for this school year. This wasn’t connected to the cutting of the art programs.
Currently the number of students entering college for the arts exceeds the number of students entering for the sciences, engineering, technology and math talents. Yet for many publicly run colleges, programs in the arts compose those programs that are being cut.
Due to the fact that a majority of professions in the arts are lower wage earning jobs the importance placed upon these talents have greatly reduced over the last century. With the faltering economy due to the 2008 market crash, support paid to those entering science and mathematic professions has increased. This support doesn’t extend to the arts, being that both institutes of higher education and grade schools have reduced art programs.
With the budget cuts going toward art programs all over the countries many educators are worried about the effect these cuts will have on students. Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in a variety of fields, like critical thinking and cognitive abilities.
A 2005 report carried out by the Rand Corp. on the effects of visual arts argued that the pleasures and stimulations gained from art are more than moments of entertainment. According to the report actively applying yourself to creating can, “Connect people more deeply to the worlds and open them to new ways of seeding,” creating a foundation to improve social bonds and community cohesion.
As for Schuster, she believes any form of the arts is an opportunity that students should explore.
“It’s a rare opportunity to introduce people to such a wonderful thing,” she said.
While many view the arts as a form of education that doesn’t stimulate economic growth in the stagnant job market Schuster thinks otherwise.
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