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Art Is The Only Educational Program of Importance

Can You Really Rebrand Art As S.T.E.M.?

By Chelas MontanyePublished 8 months ago Updated 8 months ago 5 min read
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Art by Aliaksandr Barysenka licensed from Vecteezy.com

Art is the least funded program in the United States (USA) Educational System. When budgets are cut, the first program to be cut is always the arts. Yet, Art is the one program that is the most useful in teaching people the fundamentals of every subject in education. From reading and writing to history to science and sociology to psychology, art plays a very big role.

The word Art is supposed to have a meaning that references a particular skill or the understanding of a particular craft that a person might have a gift for. Unfortunately, art appears to leave such a bad taste in some educators’ mouths, that the current educational system has attempted to eliminate it from our children’s academics altogether.

Let’s start with where art began, as a practice. It started because we, the human race, needed tools and equipment for survival. The making of clay pots for cooking and eating, the creation of tools for digging and cutting, the carving of spears and arrows to hunt for food, and the skinning and tanning of animal fur for warmth, to the transformation of natural plant fibers to textiles. The most interesting of all art forms, is the use of written marks to be used as language and mathematics, bypassing the need for memorizing verbal histories and family heritages. Before paper was invented, language arts were inscribed into stone and clay. Sculptures and statues were carved to mark territories and as symbols of deities to ward off or attract spirits. Everything that humans touched over the course of the entire existence of our species is wrapped in something that we call art.

Today, people don’t want to hear about art’s history or its link to our current educational system. Art history is unnecessary in the eyes of the educational system, and it is useless to people who need to be taught skills to earn an income to survive. Educators, that is the government, want to be able to calculate art on a scoring system, and art doesn’t work that way. The beauty of art, is that it doesn’t teach subjects like mathematics factually, it teaches the concept of mathematics. Poetry doesn’t teach reading and writing, poetry teaches the profoundness of our words. Art doesn’t teach psychology, but it can be used as a tool to help people to act out their trauma. Not one of these examples is proof that art is so necessary that it should be included in our academics.

What if I were to tell you that Art is the only educational program that people need? Just the fact that art is the act of creation, should be enough to convince anyone with rational thought that we need art. Not to mention, that all of society, every society ever built, was built with art and only because of our ability as a species to create art. From the construction of our infrastructure, such as bridges and sewer systems, to our economies, the craftsmanship of our coins to the calculation of our retirement funds is all based on art stimulated by our imagination. To make Art is to create, to memorize is simply to mimic. Once you understand the purpose of art, there is no denying that people can’t move forward without art.

Our educational system continues to deny people the basic education of art to the poorest of our population, but the desperation becomes apparent when educators rename art in an attempt to replace it with something that they feel that their students desperately need. Recently, over the past decade, STEM has replaced art in every school, mainly as an after-school program. However, STEM is actually another term for Art, but the avoidance of what some feel is redundant and unnecessary skills that art teaches keeps STEM from being acknowledged for what it really is. The funny thing is, STEM has shown to have become so important in the advancement of a child’s education, that schools have been openly talking about making STEM a part of their approved curriculums. In many states, a teacher can actually be certified as a STEM teacher and teachers are encouraged to do so.

Take a moment to examine what S.T.E.M. means. It is the combination of Science Technology Engineering and Math as a method of discovery. For example: Creating slime, which is the same recipe that art teachers have been using to create non-toxic watercolor paints for like-ever. Building structures, like towers, tunnels, bridges and identifying the scientific principles of how they stand up, like architectures have been doing for centuries. Creating fun crafts, like invisible ink, kaleidoscopes, parachutes, rainbows, textures, textiles, clay, floating paint, printing with leaves, studying insects, and the list just goes on. I have yet to see an original concept be created through the new STEM programs, that I didn’t learn in art class when I was growing up. Actually, math was a necessity in order to create art, something that many so-called STEM programs have been avoiding the use of, through the act of what is now considered “free play”. What is now called free play is practically the invention of mud pies, but with glitter. That’s not art, folks. That’s not STEM. That’s called lunch, in places like Haiti. That is something art is supposed to teach you; Survival, and how to express the outrage you have towards social issues related to surviving and giving you a voice to shout out that poor women in Haiti are being forced to eat mud pies as a method of filling their bellies, because of government corruption and women’s unequal rights.

You can call my beliefs eccentric, because they do call me an artist. You can even say I’m bitter over the misuse, the abuse, and the elimination of what art really is and why it is important. You can claim that I’m upset because they renamed art with an acronym that describes what art teaches, and they would be right. They may even call me mad, because they stereo-typed artists into being so. However, I doubt they will ever consider my argument to be passionate, because art is passion, and there’s a reason that they don’t teach S.T.E.M.P.. Obviously, someone, some people, believe that there is not a place in education for passion, but what the educators don’t understand is that passion is what is necessary for creation. New inventions and new creations and new ideas are born from passionate people. S.T.E.M. isn’t going to change that.

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About the Creator

Chelas Montanye

I’m an advocate for education and equal health care. I love satire. I love to express myself through art and writing. Social issues fascinate and astound me. Co-founder of Art of Recycle.

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  • Jazzy 8 months ago

    I loved your passion in this, and you’re so right. They do cut art. I was in school for nursing and I took dance and art as well, and remember being asked, “why waste your time?” I actually felt bad for those who asked. To create us to be human. We are art and being able to create is what makes us human. Very well written. I don’t think you sound mad, I think you sound passionate!!!

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