Art in School: Yea or Nay?


Elke Coenders, Features Editor

There are many different types of art: drama, literature, music, visual art, dance, and voice. Art in school is a topic that hits close to home at Lafayette particularly because of SCAPA, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts. However, arts programs are often the number one thing for schools to cut when it comes to funding. Most people can agree that the availability of art in schools is important, but when it comes down to limited funds should art make the cut?


Art is an important aspect of everybody’s lives. Many students enjoy art, and with art in schools students are able to enjoy the school day more. School should not only be book work and studying if students are to truly care about it and immerse themselves in it. Many people learn better through hands-on activities, which makes art one of the best things to teach and learn.

Also, art is an outlet and is therapeutic. Students who are stressed from school or from troubles at home are provided a source of relaxation with art. Art gives them the opportunity to express themselves. It has a calming effect because students can turn emotions into something they like.

Art helps channel creativity. Schools is very focused on analytical content and facts. However, creativity is also a key part of thinking students need to learn. Creativity allows students to exercise their brains in “out of the textbook thinking,” including problem solving, invention, leadership, and critical thinking, which are important career skills.

Art is important in society. While it is true that practical jobs (such as teachers, accountants, and farmers) are essential, art is also a key part of the functioning of a community. Everybody benefits from art in some way, whether it’s watching a TV show, going to an art gallery, reading a book, or listening to music. Therefore, it would be beneficial to society for students to learn art so they can learn to either be artists or to appreciate art.


Art is a hobby. Some students enjoy it and some students don’t care for it. The latter type of student will not appreciate the availability of art classes, which are costly. Some of these students may even feel negatively toward art classes, especially because many schools (including Lafayette) require an art credit to graduate. Instead of forcing uninterested students to participate in art, people who are passionate about it can find time outside of school to practice art.

Art is not educational or an essential skill. While it may help students blend with society, it is not essential for them to be successful. Public school’s purpose is to educate students on subjects that are critical to students’ futures. Public school is supposed to give all students the equal opportunity to be successful, and art has no objective part in this.

Many art classes are expensive. The mediums for visual art, the instruments for music, the facilities for dance, the cameras for photography, and the sets and costumes for drama are all costly. This is a concern because public schools have limited funding, and this funding should be concentrated on inexpensive and necessary subjects.

Art is unlikely to lead to a good job. In a typical school, there is no basketball class, no video game creating class, no truck driving class, and no Fast Food Serving 101 class. This is because these jobs are unrealistic or do not deliver a good income. Being a successful artist is also unrealistic; most artists are pegged as “starving artists” for a reason. Therefore, art as a real career choice shouldn’t be encouraged in schools.


There are art programs and classes at many schools, which are appreciated by some people and not by others. What do you think? Is art an essential part of school or is it more of a burden to the system?